A 21-year old Leicester woman has received a £320,000 pay-out from a GP’s Defence Union after a missed developmental dysplasia of the hip. This condition is sometimes called a congenital hip dislocation, suffered at birth and it was not treated until the woman was 23 months old. She was treated with open reduction and relocation of the hip but she eventually developed avascular necrosis of the hip (a surgical complication of the open reduction of the hip). This means the woman, Ms. A, must now have a hip replacement, known as a total hip arthroplasty.
The GP denied liability and recently settled this case, which has rumbled on since 2013, for £320,000.
Ms. A was born with a congenital hip dislocation, which is a condition where the ball and socket joint of the hip does not form properly. The socket of the hip is too shallow and therefore the joint is loose and, in some cases, the femur can dislocate. When spotted early, the condition can be treated with a harness which allows the hips to grow normally.
In this case, the condition was not spotted, despite concerns being raised by Mum when her child was 8 months and 17 months. Ms. A was eventually treated at 23 months old, meaning invasive surgery was necessary and now Ms. A is in her twenties she needs a hip replacement.
Commenting on her case, Ms. A said: “Having an operation on my hip when I was older, rather than a harness or other non-invasive treatment, has had a negative impact on my whole life and now I’m in my twenties and I face the prospect of a hip replacement, which will likely require another invasive operation in around 15 years’ time.
“I know my mother was really concerned when I was a baby that my hips weren’t developing properly but her concerns were dismissed until she really insisted on a referral to the orthopaedic doctors. It’s so frustrating for us that it’s taken so long to get some recognition that this wasn’t our fault and more could have been done at a much earlier stage” Lime have gone to great lengths to help to bring this to a positive conclusion for me, giving me financial support for help with my hip in the future.”
Catherine Leong, a clinical negligence solicitor at Lime Solicitors who acted for Ms. A, said: “This case was initiated in 2013 by Ms. A and her mother, but really this family has been suffering since 1998 when Ms. A was born. We are pleased the MPS, the GP’s Defence Union, has settled the case, although an apology for Ms. A, who has had to live in discomfort and with the prospect of a hip replacement at just 21 years old, would have provided true closure for this family.
“Examination at new-born and the 6-8-week stage should usually diagnose developmental dysplasia of the hip and therefore non-invasive treatment should usually be effective. It’s so frustrating that in this case the treatment was delayed until Ms. A was twenty-three months old. Hopefully lessons can be learned from this case so other children don’t have to suffer with this condition into later life.
“I would also say to parents if you have any concern, do share them and ask at every opportunity when you see the heath visitor or GP and do not give up. Perseverance by Ms A’s mother is what got Ms A seen by the orthopaedic doctors at the time that she was seen.”