The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Compensation Claim

If you have been injured while in the care of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, you may be able to make a compensation claim for clinical negligence. To discuss your options with a specialist solicitor, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Case Study

A 22 year-old woman reached a court settlement of £316,300 following a "catalogue of disasters" after being born with two dislocated hips. She underwent numerous failed operations to rectify the problem as a baby, continuing through her childhood and into adulthood.

"A catalogue of disasters"

The Claimant was born in 1979 with two dislocated hips. She was placed in a plaster splint within hours of being born, which corrected the deformity in the right hip but not in the left.

After birth, the Claimant was admitted to Bishop Auckland Hospital where her left leg was placed in traction. She underwent manipulation of her left hip in a closed reduction procedure. The Claimant was placed in plaster until for 5 months, during that time her left hip remained dislocated.

After removal of the plaster, the Claimant underwent her first open reduction operation, which left her in plaster again for some months. She was then transferred to the Freeman Hospital.

The Claimant was put in traction for five weeks and underwent a second open reduction. She was allowed to mobilise out of plaster before being discharged for a year.

The Claimant walked unaided for the first time aged four-and-a-half years.

Further surgery

She underwent a further procedure which required a repositioning osteotomy to correct the flexion deformity of the left leg. The metal plate from the osteotomy was later removed. It was decided the following year that a leg lengthening procedure should be considered for when the Claimant was 13 or 14 because the legs were still different lengths.

The Claimant's left hip was noted to be completely stiff, and a discrepancy of 3.5cm in the length of her legs was noted. A leg lengthening procedure was performed by fitting an orthofix device. The leg was lengthened by 1cm on the operating table.  

Following the procedure, the screw on the orthofix device had to be turned at intervals set by the hospital, leaving the Claimant in extreme pain. The device was relaxed and the number of turns of the screw each day was reduced.

However, the Claimant's left femur failed to unite and she had to undergo further surgery, when the orthofix device was adjusted and attempts made to align the two parts of the femur.

The Claimant remained in the care of the Freeman Hospital until she was 20 years old.

Breach of duty

One of the medical experts consulted during the claim called the Claimant's many treatments as a "catalogue of disasters". There were numerous allegations of negligence in relation to the failures to reduce the hip or recognise that it was not reduced from birth onwards, as well as in respect of some of the techniques used.

Causation

The Defendants conceded the majority of the allegations of negligence, and those that they did not concede had no bearing on causation. The medical experts for both parties agreed that the Claimant would have required a hip replacement around the age of 50 were it not for repeatedly negligent treatment. However, the Claimant now faced the risk of pseudarthrosis and had to live her daily life with restrictions and deformities.

The Claimant's injuries

The Claimant was left with a rotated femur, a deformed and degenerative left hip, and extensive scarring. She also walked with a limp. She experienced continued pain in her hip, the top of her thigh, and her back. Her condition was expected to gradually deteriorate.

It was agreed that the Claimant would likely require a primary hip replacement around the age of 30 because of the negligence, and further revision procedures at about age 45 and 60. There was a 25% chance that her useful bone stock would at some point become exhausted, meaning she would therefore develop pseudarthrosis and her hip could not be reconstructed.

Compensation settlement

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was ordered to pay the Claimant a total of £316,300 in damages. She was awarded £65,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity and £20,000 contingency for the risk of pseudarthrosis.

For future plastic surgery she was awarded £4,245; future care £82,356; future surgery and associated costs £36,361; aids and equipment £12,219; miscellaneous future needs; £23,085.

She was also awarded Special Damages for past care £28,363; past travel £3984; miscellaneous past costs; £1591 and interest of £36,424.

Making a compensation claim against Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Making a clinical negligence claim against an NHS Trust can be a complex process. A specialist solicitor will arrange the necessary reports and expert witness statements to give your claim the best chance of success.

Call us on 0800 612 7456 to discuss your options with a claims expert, or use Quittance's injury claims calculator for more information.