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£100,000 damages for grandmother who had to go under knife three times due to hospital’s hip replacement error



A health trust has paid £100,000 damages to a patient after doctors needed three attempts to correctly complete her hip replacement.

Suzanne Harvey, 59, had to go under the knife three times in the space of eight days.

As part of a successful legal claim against Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, it was alleged the errors caused the grandmother of 15 to suffer long-term problems which would have been avoided had the initial operation been completed successfully.

Ms Harvey’s new hip dislocated as she was being moved from her hospital trolley back to her bed following her operation at Calderdale Royal Hospital, West Yorkshire.

It meant she had to return to theatre the following day to have her new hip relocated, but this once again proved unsuccessful, with doctors noting in the days following that she still required further “revision surgery” as her hip was deemed “unstable”.

The matter was finally successfully resolved eight days after the original operation, but came at an extra cost according to independent medical experts who were consulted by medical negligence claims specialists Hudgell Solicitors.

It was alleged as part of the legal case that had the hip been correctly inserted and the dislocation avoided, Ms Harvey would have been mobile after one to two days and walking on crutches and sticks over an eight to 10-week period.

Instead, it was claimed she had made a poor recovery and, as a result of the dislocation, had developed chronic post-surgical pain and hip dysfunction, which in turn has caused additional pressure on her knees, left hip and back.

The solicitors suggested these issues, including the need for a total left knee replacement, were brought forward by two to three years as a result of the errors made in hospital, leaving Ms Harvey with an increased perception of pain.

Operation was supposed to be ‘answer to prayers’ but became ‘a nightmare’

Ms Harvey had suffered with arthritis for more than three decades and was convinced a hip replacement would solve her ongoing pain problems, but said the ordeal, in 2012, had changed her life completely.

She was awarded £100,000 compensation, but still faces a further hip replacement procedure within the next four years due to her replacement’s lifespan, an operation she says she is now terrified to have.

She said: “I’ve had hip pain for many years and I researched replacements and thought the good outweighed the bad. I thought this was going to be the answer to my prayers but the whole thing has been a nightmare.

“I felt my hip dislocate when they moved me after the first operation. I have never experienced pain like it. Another patient said she will never forget the noise I made for the rest of her life. I was hysterical. I ended up having three operations and three general anaesthetics.

“I couldn’t walk properly for about six months and I needed help at home. It has changed my life completely since.

“The replacement was supposed to get me back on my feet. Instead, I’m like a hermit and I only go out when my family takes me. I don’t feel safe going on my own. I’m so young at heart, but my body is in bits. It’s unbelievable.

“I feel disgusted, hurt and frightened because I now know I need to have another hip replacement, but I don’t want it. I still have nightmares and flashbacks, and I wake up screaming about what the pain was like. I can walk but I’m in constant pain and I’ll be on painkillers for the rest of my life.

“I feel fed up a lot and I feel like a prisoner because I can’t walk far. I used to go out every weekend and two or three times during the week, but I rarely go into town now.

“All I ever wanted from taking legal action was a genuine face-to-face apology, but I’ve never had one. I’ve felt like a number, not a patient, and £100,000 still isn’t an apology.”

Trust admits breach of duty causing dislocation need for extra surgery

Reports by independent medical experts said Ms Harvey could have expected to have regained reasonable hip function within five to six months and would not have suffered chronic post-surgical pain, as well as other health problems, had the initial operation been completed successfully.

They also said her right hip replacement would have had a normal 15-year lifespan, rather than the eight to 10-year lifespan her current hip has.

It was also alleged Ms Harvey suffered an avoidable eight-day period of pain and distress, including having two more avoidable surgical procedures and treatment in an abduction brace.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust admitted breach of duty, accepting liability for the dislocation of Ms Harvey’s hip and the need for revision surgery as a result, offering the £100,000 settlement as damages.

‘Errors were completely unacceptable’

Solicitor Tasmin White, of Hudgell Solicitors, represented Ms Harvey in the case.

She said: “This was a horrendous experience for Ms Harvey which did not simply cause upset and pain at the time but has continued to have a long-lasting impact on her quality of life.

“It is completely unacceptable for such avoidable errors to be made. Put simply, this case was about the failure to ensure the hip replacement was done correctly the first time. The hospital trust admits there was a breach of the duty of care owed to Ms Harvey. 

“Having to undergo any form of surgery is a big decision and can be a traumatic time for a patient, so to go through an operation, then suffer agonising pain from a dislocation and then have to face two more surgical procedures is shocking. It is perhaps not surprising that Ms Harvey is reluctant about any future surgery on her hip.

“The initial hip replacement operation should have been the answer to her problems. Instead it has caused years more pain and discomfort.

“It’s been a long process to get the compensation Ms Harvey deserves, and she has been so patient throughout. I’m relieved it’s over for her now and that she is happy with the outcome.”

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04/08/2017 No Comments

Musgrove Park report highlights concerns over private care in NHS

medical reports


WORRYING questions have been raised over NHS Trusts using private healthcare providers to clear waiting lists following a leaked report which has claimed dozens of eye surgery operations were rushed and of a poor standard at a UK hospital.

The Guardian newspaper has revealed that a private company agreed to perform 20 cataract operations on patients a day to clear a backlog at Musgrove Park hospital in Somerset, in a bid to meet Government waiting list rules.

However, that was at least six times more operations a day than the hospital’s own surgeons would usually carry out – with a combination of staff, equipment and facilities which had never been tried before.

The report, seen by the Guardian and apparently marked “strictly confidential: not to be disclosed to any other party”, says that despite it being clear that patients were suffering complications, procedures continued.

By the time operations at the Taunton hospital were stopped, 62 patients had undergone surgery, and of them, only 25 had a “normal recovery”. The report says the complications reported were ten times the number that might have been expected from the surgery.

Among those complications were burns caused by the machine used to break up cataract and loss of iris pigment, some patients being left with microscopic metallic fragments in their eye and others left needing further surgery because cataract fragments were left in their eyes.

This report certainly paints a frightening picture of the arrangements made between NHS hospitals and private healthcare providers – and in this case one where the standard of patient care doesn’t appear to have been any kind of priority.

Indeed, the report states that Musgrove Park drew up a contract with the global health giant Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, which in turn sub-contracted the provision of surgeons and equipment to another private company, which in turn sub-contracted the provision of some equipment to a third company. It is hardly surprising that there were major problems during surgery as a result.

NHS Hospitals have of course been encouraged by the Government to treat some patients privately for some time now as a way of generating extra cash and cutting waiting lists, but carrying out surgery on a conveyor belt system will only ever lead to a fall in standards of care.

As experts in dealing with cases involving medical negligence, we at Neil Hudgell Solicitors welcomed the government’s commitment to becoming more open about mistakes made in the NHS following the Mid Staffs hospital scandal.

Greater transparency across the board, and a willingness to accept and fully address issues of poor medical care is the first step towards implementing new procedures and polices across the UK to bring about improvements in NHS care.

The decision not to publish this report – marking it strictly confidential and not to be disclosed to any other party – sadly suggests there is still some way to go before that is achieved.

It begs the question, how many more hospitals are using desperate measures to cut waiting lists and meet targets, at the expense of patient care?

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16/10/2014 No Comments

What happens when a dog’s bark isn’t worse than its bite

beware of the dog sign on wood fence


Dogs might well be man’s best friend, but the number of dog bite claims is on the rise, with a series of severe attacks having been reported both by the police and the press recently.

Just last month a woman and her Lhasa Apso were attacked in York by a Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, with both owner and pet sustaining serious injuries which required urgent medical attention.

And this isn’t a standalone case. Last year, more than 6,000 people were admitted to hospital following a canine attack, costing the NHS an estimated £3million.

Being bitten or attacked by any dog can be deeply traumatic, leaving victims with psychological scars, as well as physical ones. Wounds may require complicated medical treatment, plastic surgery and on-going rehabilitation sessions, whilst the shock of the whole incident can have long-lasting effects.

Typically, it seems to be dogs named under the Dangerous Dogs Act, such as Rottweilers and Staffordshire bull terriers, that make the headlines, however, family dogs including Labradors and Collies have also been known to turn on humans – sometimes with fatal consequences.

It’s therefore vital to approach all dogs with caution and to remember that their instincts can often be highly unpredictable – even pets with mild temperaments and no previous history of aggression have the capacity to attack.

Dog owners are also responsible for correctly supervising their pet when bringing it into contact with other animals and humans. Failure to control a dog in public is punishable by law and guilty owners can face a fine of up to £5,000, and/or a prison sentence, depending on the gravity of the incident.

Despite this, roughly only half of the 200,000 dog bite incidents which occur annually in the UK are actually reported, with significantly fewer victims pursuing financial compensation.

Having dealt with many dog bite claims during my career as a personal injury solicitor, I’m used to people convincing themselves that their injuries aren’t ‘severe’ enough to warrant a payout. However, injuries that may seem relatively minor at the time can often lead to long-term health problems, particularly if they have been contracted abroad where rabies and other exotic diseases are often rife.

Seeking professional legal advice can help dog bite victims to get the compensation and justice they deserve, as well as ensuring that a dangerous animal is not responsible for a second attack.

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03/09/2014 No Comments

Local hospitals face £24m cutbacks



By Sean Gordon, Senior Solicitor, Neil Hudgell Solicitors

The debate surrounding the declining quality of hospital care continues to rage, as local NHS outlets, Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, announce funding cuts of £24m.

Despite having already been forced to make savings of £95m since 2010, both Hull Royal and Castle Hill are now set to experience further financial strain, with job losses and increased workloads expected across the board.

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07/08/2014 No Comments

Is underfunding of GPs to blame for the current NHS crisis?



By Sean Gordon, Senior Solicitor, Neil Hudgell Solicitors

With a record number of patients using GP surgeries, independent YouGov polls conducted on behalf of The Sun have revealed that a quarter of patients were forced to wait a minimum of seven days to see their doctor, whilst NHS data analysed by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) found 372 million were unable to get an appointment at all.

As a result, endless numbers are turning to accident and emergency services for treatment, with figures peaking at 300,000 visits per week – the highest on record. The knock on effect is an unprecedented strain on hospital staff and resources, with A&E units across the country now missing the four-hour waiting time target all year round.

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30/07/2014 No Comments

A&E – the ultimate magic trick?



By Sean Gordon, Senior Solicitor, Neil Hudgell Solicitors

The problem with a relentless focus on a single thing is that the real crux of the issue can often go undetected. As if by magic, with a simple sleight of hand, the attention is directed elsewhere, leaving those closest unaware as to what is really happening.

It seems that accident and emergency waiting time targets may be the perfect case in point with which to illustrate this rationale.

Last summer, the NHS was awarded extra budget to spend on primary care in the community, so as to alleviate pressure on A&E services during the winter months. It seems strange then that, in spite of this, emergency admissions reached the highest levels since records began in 2010.

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28/07/2014 No Comments

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to name and shame doctors who misdiagnose early stage cancers



By , medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

‘Nothing to worry about’ is the diagnosis we all like to hear.  We trust our GPs, and we’re happy not to question them.

But the spectre of mis-diagnosis lurks in the background, and with so many cancers now treatable in the early stages, we need to be absolutely sure that our GP has got it right.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt plans to single out doctors found to be dismissing cancer symptoms and failing to send patients for hospital tests soon enough, by identifying them with a ‘red flag’ on the NHS Choices website.  If they quickly refer patients to hospital, they will be ranked as ‘green’ for cancer.

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01/07/2014 No Comments

Poor Care for NHS Patients in Grimsby and Scunthorpe Hospitals



By , medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

RECENT allegations of poor care for vulnerable and elderly patients at hospitals in Grimsby and Scunthorpe – including two deaths – are quite simply shocking.

Whistle-blowers have claimed some patients were “not getting adequate food and hydration fluids over a period of days”, with medication also not being given “over a certain length of time.”

Nine of the alleged incidents were reported to have taken place at Scunthorpe General Hospital and one at Grimsby’s Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

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24/06/2014 No Comments

Action for Brain Injury Week: Neil Hudgell Solicitors supports calls to protect support for brain injury victims



keith daddyBy Chris Moore, Medical Negligence expert and Senior Solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

FOR anyone with a family member or close friend who has suffered from a serious brain injury, they will know and fully understand the devastating impact it can have on their lives.

Quite simply, in many cases, life is never the same again for either the individual concerned, or those close to them.

For the sufferer, their independence and ability to look after themselves is often lost. Family members are no longer just that, but often become full-time carers.

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07/05/2014 No Comments

Families must fight for the rights of elderly NHS patients

By , medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

FOR anybody who has a much-loved elderly family member currently in the care of the NHS, or perhaps a close relative who they know will soon be in need of hospital treatment, national newspaper headlines this week will have made very difficult reading.

England’s health watchdog Dame Julie Mellor has claimed tens of thousands of elderly patients are enduring appalling NHS care because they are simply too frightened or polite to complain.

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23/04/2014 No Comments

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