Facts of the case
The Deceased was complaining of pain in her left hip and was taken by her daughter to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital A&E Department. An x-ray was conducted and the x-ray indicated swelling to the joint and the Deceased was informed that the symptoms were caused by osteoarthritis. The Deceased was discharged with painkilling medication.
The Deceased continued to complain of pain and had difficulty walking. She had extensive bruising to her left hip and knee. Her daughter contacted her GP and the doctor explained that she has classic signs of a fractured hip in an older woman. He organised an ambulance to take her to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. On arrival the paramedic actually commented on the leg length discrepancy and suspected a fractured hip and she was admitted to the acute medical unit.
The Deceased was transferred to the medical assessment unit where an x-ray was conducted and reported as normal.
The Deceased was transferred to a ward and assessed by a physiotherapist who assessed her as being unable to weight bear on her left leg. She needed assistance for walking, toileting and chair/bed transfers at this stage. An Occupational Therapist conducted an assessment.
A few days later the Deceased was discharged from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. She was still unable to walk and weight bear through her left leg and unable to mobilise the stairs despite two rails and unable to access the toilet and washing facilities and the family had to provide all personal care. The Deceased slept in a recliner chair as she couldn’t transfer to a normal bed. Her family provided all her personal care which was very challenging due to the pain and suffering that she was experiencing. She was increasingly complaining of severe pain and was declining rapidly.
2 months later her GP came out to assess the Deceased at her home. He diagnosed a fractured hip. She was again admitted to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital and was seen instantly by an orthopaedic doctor, an x-ray was conducted and the doctor informed her family that she had a fractured left hip which was visible on the previous x-ray and apologised for the x-ray being logged as normal within her medical records. The Deceased finally underwent a hip replacement operation to her left hip.
The Deceased sadly died a short time later due to an unconnected illness.
The Hospital Trust accepted there had been a delay in treatment but their position was that this was fairly insignificant injury being only a 10 week delay and made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £2000.
We obtained independent expert evidence from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. This indicated that in the absence of the negligence (delay) the fracture would have been treated by a relatively simple surgical procedure consisting of the insertion of three cannulated screws.
Instead as a consequence of the failure to properly report on the x-rays the Deceased required significant surgery months later which led to a stormy post-operative course, a dislocation of the Thompsons hemi-arthroplasty which in turn on balance caused a fracture of the anterior-inferior aspect of the acetabulum.
A Letter of Claim was sent to the Hospital who had initially made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £2000 which they then increased to £7000.
Following negotiation settlement was reached in the sum of £17,500, plus costs.