Settlement following “never event” surgery to incorrect hip.

06 August 2020

Shoosmiths was approached by the daughter of an elderly gentleman suffering from dementia after she was informed by hospital staff that surgery had mistakenly been performed to his incorrect hip following a fall on the ward.
Settlement following never event surgery to incorrect hip

Mr White lived in his own home with the support of carers, but unfortunately had to be hospitalised after developing a urinary tract infection. While on the hospital ward, there were alleged failings in the nursing care he received as measures were not put into place to prevent him from falling and suffering injury. Despite Mr White being identified as being at a high risk of falls due to his confusion and poor mobility, he was not nursed on an ultra-low bed and alarm systems were not utilised to alert nurses should he try and get out of bed. As a result of these failings, Mr White managed to get out of bed and slipped on the floor, injuring his right hip.

A CT scan was performed which confirmed that Mr White had fractured his right hip. However, he was erroneously listed for surgery to his left hip. Due to a further failure to follow hospital protocols, Mr White was taken to the operating theatre without any surgical markings or further medical checks, and therefore this error was not noticed until after an incision had been made by the surgeon into his left hip capsule.

Having spotted the error during the operation, the surgeons subsequently proceeded to operate on the correct side and repair the fractured right hip.

Unfortunately, Mr White had a prolonged recovery and extended hospital stay. This was due to the hip fracture he had initially sustained on the ward as well as undergoing surgery to both hips which significantly impacted upon his mobility.

Mr White’s dementia deteriorated further during the course of his hospital admission and coupled with his worsening mobility, he was unable to return to his home to live independently. Arrangements had to be put into place for Mr White to be discharged to a local care home where he later died.

Mr White’s daughter instructed Victoria Blankstone of Shoosmiths to investigate her father’s case. A settlement sum was agreed by the hospital trust for the injuries he had suffered and the acceleration of his condition. 



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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