Compensation following experimental treatment for an infected hip replacement

07 February 2019

Mr Ian Dixon underwent a left total hip replacement in April 2012. Sadly, after the surgery he developed a bacterial infection at the site of the prosthetic hip joint. Instead of being recommended the normal two stage revision surgery to remove and replace the infected hip joint, he was advised to enter into a research trial into the treatment of infection which was being run by the hospital.
Compensation following experimental treatment infected hip replacement

This involved new and experimental treatment whereby antibiotics were applied directly to the infected area through a catheter which was placed into the hip. Unfortunately for Mr Dixon the trial was not successful in eradicating the original infection from his hip prosthesis and he subsequently acquired an additional candida infection. This was also difficult to treat and Mr Dixon required more than 20 surgical procedures to try and remove the infection.

Ultimately, Mr Dixon’s hip prosthesis had to be removed. He finally underwent a left Girdlestone excision arthroplasty three years later in April 2015. This was considered very much to be a ‘salvage procedure’, primarily aimed at pain relief and infection control. Due to the significant delays in treating the infection and the removal of his prosthesis, Mr Dixon experienced ongoing left hip pain and was dependent upon his family for all aspects of his daily living. He became wheelchair bound and he had to sell the family home and move to a bungalow.

Mr Dixon and his family were upset about the pain and suffering he had endured and instructed Victoria Blankstone of Shoosmiths to act on his behalf. Victoria argued that due to Mr Dixon’s pre-existing conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, he was not a suitable candidate to take part in the treatment trial.

Further, after discussions with Mr Dixon, Victoria maintained that the infection risks were not fully explained to him when he provided his consent to take part in the trial. In other words, he had not given his informed consent to participation in the trial. Had those risks been fully explained, it was likely that Mr Dixon would have elected not to take part in the trial.

It was also argued that the trial should have been stopped when it became clear that the antibiotic treatment was having no effect in treating the original infection, and that leaving the catheter in his hip increased the risk of further infection.

Sadly, Mr Dixon passed away in the hospital due to unrelated causes before his case was concluded. However, compensation was awarded to his wife as executor of her husband’s estate to reflect Mr Dixon’s pain and suffering and other financial losses incurred during the four years he received treatment following the original hip replacement.

Mrs Dixon said of the service provided by Shoosmiths:

Everyone showed compassion, care and professionalism before Ian’s death and afterwards. I was impressed by their expertise and how genuine their feelings of sympathy and care towards us were.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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