County Durham & Darlington NHS Trust Compensation Claim

If you have been injured in the care of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust you may be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim. To speak to an expert about your situation, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (2002) case study

A 22 year old woman was awarded a total of £316,300 (£472,365.5 RPI adjusted) at Leeds County Court after a catalogue of disasters left her with a deformed and degenerative hip and living her daily life with restrictions and pain.

The Claimant was born with 2 dislocated hips in March 1979. Within hours she was placed in a plaster splint, which corrected the deformity in the right hip, but not the left.

In November 1979 the Claimant was admitted to Bishop Auckland Hospital and her left leg was placed in traction. 10 days later she underwent manipulation of her left hip in a closed reduction procedure, and was placed in plaster until April 1980. During that time her left hip remained dislocated.

On April 17, 1980 an open reduction operation was carried out and the Claimant was again in plaster until June 6 1980; after which her care was transferred to the Freeman Hospital (under whose care she remained until July 1999 when she was 20 years of age).

The Claimant was put in traction for 5 weeks at the Freeman Hospital and on July 14, 1980 she underwent a second open reduction operation. She remained in plaster until June 3, 1981 - with the plaster being changed twice under general anaesthetic. On August 21, 1981 she was allowed to mobilise out of plaster and was discharged for a year.

On August 4, 1982 the Claimant attended the Freeman Hospital as an outpatient where it was recorded that her left leg was 1.5 inches shorter than her right. X-rays showed dislocation.

The left hip remained dislocated and an exploratory operation was performed in February 1983. During this procedure a third open reduction was carried out. This was extensive surgery and the Claimant remained in plaster until June 26, 1983.

On September 15, 1983 the Claimant walked unaided for the first time. She was aged four-and-a-half years.

The Claimant underwent a repositioning osteotomy to correct the flexion deformity of the left leg on January 7, 1986 and a metal plate remained in place until November 3, 1987.

A year later, in November 1988, the Claimant's legs were still different lengths and it was decided that a leg lengthening procedure should be considered for when the claimant was 13 or 14.

In March 1991, the Claimant's left hip was noted to be completely stiff and a difference of 3.5cm noted in the length of her legs. An orthofix device was fitted on July 18, 1991 to lengthen her leg. A lengthening of 1cm was achieved on the operating table, after which the screw on the orthofix device was to be turned at intervals set by the hospital. The claimant was in agony and on July 31, 1991, she returned to hospital in excruciating pain.

The device was relaxed and the number of turns of the screw each day was reduced. The Claimant's left femur failed to unite and she had further surgery on January 16, 1992 when the orthofix device was adjusted and attempts made to align the two parts of the femur. The fixator was removed on August 14, 1992.

The trial

During a 3 day trial at Leeds County Court there were numerous allegations of negligence in relation to the failures to reduce the hip, or to recognise that it was not reduced from 1979 onwards. There were also allegations of negligence in respect of some of the techniques used. One of the Claimant's experts described the whole of her treatment as a "catalogue of disasters".

The Defendants conceded the majority of the allegations and those that were not conceded had no bearing on causation.

The medical experts for both parties agreed that had there not been negligence the Claimant would have required a hip replacement when she reached around 50 years of age, but until then would be able to lead a normal life.

However due to her repeatedly negligent treatment, the Claimant was left with a rotated femur, a deformed and degenerative left hip, extensive scarring and walked with a limp. She continued to have pain in her hip, back and top of her thigh.

Her condition was likely to deteriorate and orthopaedic experts agreed that due to the negligence she would require a primary hip replacement at about age 30; with revision procedures at 45 and 60.

There was a 25% chance of her useful bone stock becoming exhausted at some point and therefore develop pseudarthrosis - where the bone is unlikely to heal because the body perceives the bone fragments as separate bones and therefore does not attempt to unite them. On the balance of probabilities it was expected that this would occur at age 65 or beyond.

As the Defendants had admitted breach of duty and causation the trial was confined to quantum, with Judge Bush taking into account the Claimant's contention that if she developed pseudarthrosis before reaching 65 it would have a devastating effect on her earning capacity and care needs as she would need to use crutches inside the home and a wheelchair outside.

Judge Bush ruled that a full and final settlement was appropriate.

Compensation Settlement

The final award was as follows:

Total Damages: £316,300 (£472,365.5 RPI adjusted)
Of which:

  • £65,000 general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, plus £2,600 interest.
  • Contingency for risk of pseudarthrosis before 65: £20,000
  • Future plastic surgery: £4,245
  • Future care: £82,356
  • Future hip surgery and associated costs: £36,361
  • Aids and equipment: £12,291
  • Miscellaneous future needs: £23,085
  • Special Damages:
  • Past care: £28,363
  • Past travel: £3,984
  • Miscellaneous past costs: £1,591
  • Interest: £36,424.


Making a compensation claim against County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Making a claim for medical or clinical negligence can seem initially overwhelming. Hospital Trusts are large complex organisations. Just finding out what happened can be complicated.

Our panel of solicitors have significant experience in taking on hospital trusts and securing financial compensation for people affected by clinical or medical negligence.

Call us on 0800 612 7456 to discuss your situation with a claims expert or find out what your claim could be worth.