Orthopaedic surgery negligence could happen if the surgeon or their team are negligent during surgery. Orthopaedics or orthopaedic surgeon carry out procedures on the musculoskeletal system. This can be both surgical and non-surgical treatments. If the surgeon is negligent when carrying out a procedure of this kind it could have life-changing issues for the patient involved.
In this article, we explain the basics of starting an orthopaedic surgical negligence compensation claim for harm that was caused through substandard care that could have been prevented. With the correct evidence to show how medical negligence allowed you to suffer further avoidable harm that should not have happened, you could have an eligible case for compensation. You may have received care that was substandard or inappropriate for your health condition? If this is the case, you can talk to our friendly team right now in complete confidence and with no obligation. Simply:
- Call us now 0800 652 3087
- Email or write to us at Medical Negligence Assist.co.uk
- Use the ‘live support’ option to the bottom right of this screen
Select A Section
- What Is Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence?
- What Is Orthopaedics?
- Common Types Of Orthopaedic Treatments
- What Could Cause Musculoskeletal Injuries?
- Types Of Orthopaedic Medical Negligence
- Time Limits To Claim For Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence
- What Can I Claim For Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence?
- No Win No Fee Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence
- How Our Team Could Help With Instances Of Medical Negligence
- Clinical Negligence – The Numbers
- Related Claims
- Orthopaedic Surgery Negligence FAQs
Medical negligence is the omission or negligent action from a medical practitioner that has caused harm that could have been avoided. Surgical negligence could happen for different reasons. Infection can go unspotted or untreated. You can be administered the wrong amounts of anaesthesia. In rare cases, there are something call Never Events. These are often connected with surgical negligence such as wrong-site surgery or amputation of the wrong limb.
Once a medical professional agrees to treat you they automatically owe you as their patient a duty of care. There are many areas to this duty of care but a driving force is not to cause the patient any unnecessary harm.
The Care Quality Commission has the powers to inspect, monitor and hold shortcomings to account in medical services. If a physician is liable for their patients suffering through medical negligence then a compensation claim may be possible.
Taking two types or ‘heads’ of damages and using proof from a medical assessment, it can be possible to calculate a figure for your damages. This figure can accurately acknowledge the pain and suffering and financial losses you have suffered as a result of negligence. We explain how a medical negligence solicitor can directly help you with this and how you could start your orthopaedic negligence claim today.
Orthopaedics is a branch of medicine that concentrates on the musculoskeletal system. Practitioners who specialise in orthopaedics can use both surgical and non-surgical ways of treating their patients and in particular, work with athletes and sportspeople to help with both serious and minor injuries. An Orthopedist may work as part of a team with trainers, occupational therapists, nurses or medical specialists. They can be present in theatre on a whole array of issues involving neve endings, bone reconstruction, ligament repair and transplantation.
Like any health practitioner in the UK, orthopedists must be registered to practice with the General Medical Council (GMC). This organisation ensures that practitioners meet the required standards of professional ability and conduct before they can legally treat anyone in Britain. If you believe you received substandard medical care from an NHS practitioner, you can complain directly to the NHS. If you were treated by a private practitioner the same level of professionalism and expertise applies and you can sue them.
Given the wide range of issues that could arise in muscular-skeletal injuries or illnesses, practitioners of orthopaedics can find themselves treating virtually every area of the body. Their training and knowledge need to be expansive enough to incorporate this and understand how the body functions in the many different ways it does. With this in mind, some general areas of treatment are as follows:
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Fractures of any bone
- Tendons and ligaments
- Soft tissue injuries
- Any type of back pains
- Neck pain
- Spinal procedures (along with neurosurgeons)
- Bone tumour procedures
- Shoulder injuries or pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sports injuries such as bursitis or tendonitis, meniscus tears
- Congenital conditions such as scoliosis or clubfoot
In addition to this, orthopaedic surgical procedures can include:
- Reconstruction of the joints
- Surgery in a specific region (i.e. elbow or knee)
- Working with neurosurgeons for spine injuries or illness
- Bone tumour surgery
- Rheumatoid arthritis surgery
- Complex surgical procedures
- Arthroplasty – the complete replacement of entire joints
Often working alongside other specialists or surgeons, the orthopaedic specialist that treats you must have an excellent working knowledge of how to assist in the treatment of anything from a sprained toe to spinal cancer. Orthopaedics is a rigorous and demanding area of medicine that requires its practitioners to be thorough and versatile in their actions.
You can speak to our team right now if you underwent an orthopaedic procedure that has left you with suffering that could have been prevented but was caused through medical negligence.
Obviously, given the highly mobile nature of the human body, it’s possible to suffer musculoskeletal injuries in many different ways. There are some common examples which include:
- Any type of bone fracture from impact.
- Dislocated joints when a force or act moves the joint out of its natural range of motion or position
- Heavy impact as the result of a car accident or road traffic collision
- Overuse injuries (common in repetitive jobs or sports activities)
- Bad posture or repeated poor movement
- Sprains and strains
- Cancer issues
You could fall from a height and land badly. A simple slip can be all it takes to shatter an elbow. Walking for years takes a toll on the knees. It’s important to note that our skeleton and muscles perform thousands of tasks for us every day without complaint. When something goes wrong we expect to receive the right medical treatment to correct it. If you are provided with care that is below the expected standard this could leave you worse off.
Before setting out on a claim for orthopaedic surgical negligence, it’s important to be sure who or what was truly responsible for the negligence. The original cause will not be included within the claim for surgical negligence. Furthermore, some treatment methods carry a risk of potential harm that is not avoidable. Patients can respond in unforeseen ways to different types of surgery.
Speak to our team for guidance. We can offer insights into whether a case is strong right at the start.
Despite the best efforts of health care providers to deliver good treatment, if proven procedures are deviated from or medics do not provide the level of care that is needed mistakes could happen that could have otherwise be avoided. We place our trust in the surgeons or specialists who treat us and hope that they are concentrating on the task at hand. If the levels of care and treatment fall then issues such as those listed below could arise;
- There can be a delay in your fracture diagnosis that worsens the injury
- Elbow, knee or hip replacement operation issues could occur
- Wrong-site surgery issues
- Insufficient consent to a procedure
- Delays in diagnosing issues like congenital hip dysplasia leading to long term mobility issues
- Incorrect or malfunctioning equipment during procedures
- Avoidable nerve damage
- Incorrect sizing or application of prosthetics
- Confused patient records and notes, lost or damaged patient data
- Failure to properly read x-rays or MRI and CT scans
- Poor communication with the patient about their pain or needs
It’s absolutely vital that health care providers do their best to ensure the delivery of treatment and care is as appropriate as it can be. The smallest error could set you off in a direction that takes years to recover from.
Perhaps you suffered an act of medical negligence and you are not sure who might be responsible? Why not speak to a personal injury/medical negligence solicitor. They will be able to evaluate your case and provide answers to who may be responsible for the suffering you suffered that was not necessary.
The Bolam Test
In medical matters, it can be very difficult to say with absolute certainty how an error took place. Patients do not always heal or respond to treatment in an optimum way. Surgeons can often encounter unforeseen developments in the middle of an operation. Any number of factors or variants could impact the outcome of a surgical procedure, so in order to accurately establish negligence, The Bolam Test is used.
Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957) is a piece of Tort law that is used to help assess the appropriate standard of reasonable care involving skilled professionals in cases that may be negligent. The test uses a panel of peers from a similar area of medicine to judge what they would have done in a similar situation. This is known as a ‘responsible body of opinion’ and if the practitioner is found to be in accordance with this opinion, they are not negligent.
Orthopaedic medical negligence claims have a three-year time limit. This period starts from the moment you first become aware of the avoidable harm caused by medical negligence. As a claimant under the age of 18, this time frame commences after your 18th birthday. As you wait, a responsible adult with your best interests at heart can act on your behalf in all court proceedings as a ‘litigation friend’.
Speak to our team if you have any confusion or questions about the legal time frame for making an orthopaedic surgery negligence claim.
It’s possible to make a claim for two types of damages. The first is referred to as general damages and relate to the actual injuries you have suffered as a direct result of the neglect. An independent medical assessment is used to determine what the full extent of the injuries are and a medical negligence lawyer can help arrange this for you.
The amounts come from a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines which lists award brackets for a head to toe cross-section of ailments. The idea is that general damages can try to acknowledge your pain and suffering caused, along with the impact on personal relationships and any damage caused by mental anguish. Below is an example
|Injury And Severity||Injury Notes||Compensation Estimate|
|Very Severe Brain Damage||Compensation may depend on factors such as; what insight the victims has into their condition, how long they are expected to live, physical limits on what they can do.||£264,650 to £379,100|
|Moderately Severe Brain Damage||The compensation awarded is based on he effect the injury had on their senses. Additional factors which may be taken into consideration include whether and how well the claimant can communicate.||£205,580 to £264,650|
|Moderate (i) Brain Damage||The person affected should be less dependent on others than those above.||£140,870 to £205,580|
|Less Severe Brain Damage||Injuries are less severe, though not all function may be regained to full capacity by the victim.||£14,380 to £40,410|
|Wrist Injury (A)||An arthrodesis will have been carried out, though all useful function in the wrist may have been lost.||£44,690 to £56,180|
|Wrist Injury (B)||The victim will have suffered a permanent form of disability in the wrist joint. This may be a significant level of disability.||£22,990 to £36,770|
|Wrist Injury (C)||There may be some degree of disability, however this will be lesser than the categories above.||£11,820 to £22,990|
|Moderate Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips (i)||Cases where a claimant has suffered a significant hip or pelvic injury.||£24,950 to £36,770|
|Moderate Knee Injuries (i)||This may present in various ways, such as torn cartilage, a dislocated joint or a torn meniscus.||£13,920 to £24,580|
The next head of compensation is called special damages and relate to all the actual, out-of-pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of the negligence. So, with this in mind, you can collect any bill or receipt or bank statement that proves you needed to pay out money in order to cope with the new health circumstances. You could include:
- Money or wages that you lost because you couldn’t work
- Chiropractor or physiotherapy costs
- Childcare costs
- Adaptations needed to your home
In addition to this, you may have needed to pay someone to help you with domestic tasks? Did you miss out on a special occasion or lose a deposit for a holiday? Were you less able to look after your pet? Did you suffer an impact on your pension scheme or staff bonus? All demonstrable losses attached to the consequences of the medical neglect could be eligible.
In short, special damages aim to stop you from suffering twice. Once because of the medical negligence you have suffered and then again from the financial devastation it can cause.
How could a No Win No Fee agreement help you with your orthopaedic surgery negligence claim? Whilst it’s an expression you may normally associate with road traffic accidents, No Win No Fee actually has numerous advantages that can help anyone who needs immediate legal representation but is hesitant about the cost.
When a personal injury or medical negligence lawyer works with you in this way, their fee is conditional on them winning your case. Asking no upfront fees or any as the case develops, a No Win No Fee lawyer also only takes a percentage from the settlement amount of cases that win.
This means you will always benefit from the bulk of any compensation awarded. It’s important to note that there are no absolute guarantees with medical negligence compensation awards. Anyone can start an orthopaedic surgery negligence claim with the right evidence, but why not leave it to the professionals?
At Medical Negligence Assist.co.uk we hope to enable you to make the right decision about your orthopaedic surgery negligence claim. Our advisors can assess any potential case. They can review any evidence you have along with any medical notes. If they see your case has merits they can assign an experienced medical negligence solicitor to work on your case for you.
When you speak with our friendly team, they can discuss your case in absolute confidentiality and with no expectation to proceed with anything you are not happy to do. Simply have a chat and see what your options are.
- Calling us now 0800 652 3087
- Emailing or writing to us at Medical Negligence Assist.co.uk
- Use the ‘live support’ option to the bottom right of this screen
We can discuss any questions or queries you may have on this subject. Whatever the nature of your medical negligence claim, we can help. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.
During 2018/19 the NHS received 10,678 clinical negligence claims against Trusts. It was an increase of just 5 on the previous year 2017/18. There was also a slight rise in public liability and employer liability claims made against the NHS also up from 3,570 to 3,585. Clinical negligence claims settled by the NHS in 2018/19 was 11,417.
At Medical Negligence Assist.co.uk we can help with an array of personal injury and medical negligence issues. Perhaps you were confronted with issues relating to a cancer misdiagnosis and are looking for advice on how to seek damages for that? We can help if a loved one suffered cerebral palsy due to negligence issues at childbirth. In addition to this, we can offer advice and guidance on general medical negligence or injury claims.
Lastly, we look at some frequently asked questions on this topic. As well as this, you can click on any of the highlighted text in this article to read more.
How long can you claim medical negligence?
There is a three-year time limit for making out a medical negligence claim. In extreme cases, it is possible for time limits to be extended.
How long does an NHS negligence claim take?
It’s important to note that there are no hard and fast rules about compensation cases. The time frame depends on the evidence and when or if liability is admitted.
Can I claim medical negligence after 10 years?
In some very rare cases, yes. The date of knowledge may play an important role here. Also if you were a child at the time or lacked the mental capabilities to claim on your own. Call our claims team for more information.
What is an orthopaedic surgeon?
An orthopaedic surgeon is a highly specialised area of medicine that requires 6 additional years of training. It’s essential that they can work on any area of the skeleton and understand the anatomy as it pertains to that part of the body.
What can I do if I’m not sure how I was injured?
The independent medical assessment that you sit for can take into account all the possible injuries you sustained. These exams are short and non-invasive. The doctor can get a full head to toe picture of how the medical negligence either worsened your condition or created new ones.
Do I need to share my medical records with my lawyer?
Solicitors need evidence to argue for the highest award on your behalf.
How much can I realistically expect to receive in compensation?
As mentioned, there are no absolutes with medical negligence claim settlement amounts. But with a strong case and compelling proof of your health damage and financial loss, it can be possible for a No Win No Fee lawyer to successfully argue for the right level of compensation.
How might a claim against an Orthopaedic surgeon affect future health care?
It should have absolutely no bearing on it at all. The NHS and private health care providers have a legal duty to provide appropriate, good quality health care.
Guide by Jeff
Edited by LisM.