Substandard knee replacement

Davies and Partners settled a claim relating to a negligent total right knee replacement.

Mr E suffered from osteoarthritis in his right knee and it was planned for Mr E to undergo a total right knee replacement at Weston Area Health NHS Trust. A post-operative x-ray suggested that the total knee replacement was in position. The x-ray was not reviewed. Following surgery, Mr E suffered pain and restriction in the mobility of his knee. Mr E was subsequently diagnosed with a laterally subluxed tibial component of the knee replacement. When revision surgery was undertaken it was found that the tibial component was overhanging laterally and not bonded to the cement. Existing components were only partially removed and replaced leaving Mr E with a mal-aligned knee. Post-surgery complications relating to catheterisation resulted in pain and invasive investigations. A second right knee replacement was performed due to the knee remaining mal-aligned.

Davies and Partners were instructed by Mr E to investigate and pursue a claim on his behalf in relation to his right knee replacement surgery and further procedures thereafter under the care of Weston Area Health NHS Trust.

As a result of the failed right knee replacement Mr E should have had an initial expected three month recovery period. After this three month period, Mr E still had ongoing pain and disability which caused irritability and disruption of his normal working and domestic life. Mr E underwent two further revision surgeries with months of recuperating, ongoing pain in his knee and numbness in his heel making it difficult to stand/drive. Mr E has to walk with a crutch over long distances. His work capacity is now restricted due to ability to drive. Mr E will now need a further knee replacement within 10 years instead of the standard 15 – 20 years. The knee is now more vulnerable to future fracture injuries.

Breach of duty and causation were admitted during the Pre-action Protocol Period, although it was denied that the problems Mr E suffered with his right knee will have accelerated the degeneration of the pre-existing left total knee replacement and maintained that his current right total knee replacement should last 15 years from the date of surgery, i.e. that this would be no different from the situation had the first operation been successful.

The Defendant Trust initially offered to settle in the sum of £30,000 before proceedings were issued. Subsequent to service of proceedings and, following a period of negotiation, settlement was agreed in the sum of £65,000.

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