Patient Advised to Have Unnecessary Knee Replacement Surgery When More Suitable Treatment Should Have Been Offered


Claim following inappropriate advice to 36 year old female  undergo knee surgery, leading to knee replacement and 2 revisions of the knee replacement causing pain, long term disability and a future risk of an above knee amputation.



What Happened

In 2008 the Claimant was referred to the Freeman Hospital Newcastle by her GP because she was complaining of knee pain following a fall 18 months earlier. The Claimant seen by an orthopaedic surgeon at the Freeman Hospital, an MRI scan and an arthroscopy were carried out. These tests showed a small area of damage to the end of the femur but no widespread arthritis or other degeneration within the knee.

Despite the minor nature of the defect shown on the arthroscopy and MRI scan the Claimant was advised to have her patella-femoral joint replaced just 5 months after the arthroscopy. The Claimant who was only 37 years old should have been advised that surgery would not solve her problem and she should have been referred to the pain management department for management of her condition.

The Claimant’s medical evidence was that there was no widespread arthritis or damage to the knee and that the advice to undergo the Patello-femoral joint replacement was wrong .

Another operation (the third operation) was carried out 9 months later to try to improve the function of the Claimant’s knee but she was left with increased pain and a knee that stated to give way without warning.

6 months after the third knee operation Claimant was still in pain, she was advised the only option was to have a total knee replacement, the advice to have further surgery without waiting for sufficient time to recover was completely inappropriate.

The first total knee replacement operation was carried out. When the Claimant complained of increased pain she was advised that the only option was a total knee replacement. The knee replacement and two revisions of the knee replacement were unnecessary and the surgery should not have taken place at all.

The Claimant had been left with permanent pain, difficulty in walking and standing and a reduced ability to work. When the current replacement knee wears out she faces an above-knee amputation.

The case was settled at a round table meeting despite liability being denied.

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