Written by

Sophie McGarry - Solicitor

Woman receives £275K in compensation after negligent surgery forces her into early retirement

The Incident 

Our client was 56 years of age at the time of the incident. On 20th June 2014, she attended the Defendant Trust; Ashford, and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for a right total knee replacement. X-rays were carried out on the right knee on 22nd June 2014 and were deemed to be satisfactory. 

Our client’s recovery was slow, limited by pain and swelling, with a restricted range of movement. Despite persistently returning to the hospital, her ongoing pain, swelling and restricted range of movement were not investigated appropriately. In March 2016, she retired from her role as an NHS medical secretary, a position she held at the Defendant Trust, due to the constant pain and swelling and limitation in her right knee. 

On 7th June 2017, our client sought a second opinion from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who found that her right knee had a fixed flexion deformity. On review of the X-rays, the Consultant noted an excessive posterior slope of the tibial component. Fresh X-rays showed lucent lines around the anterior cement (used as part of the replacement) of the tibial component, indicating loosening, and it was considered likely that the tibial position was responsible for the pain.  

Following this, our client underwent a revision surgery of the right total knee replacement on 17th October 2017. However, she continued to suffer permanent pain, swelling and restriction of movement in the right knee. 


The Injures 

As a result of the negligent knee replacement, our client suffered the following: 

  • An avoidable right knee revision procedure 
  • Avoidable increased pain 
  • Loss of amenity  
  • Swelling 
  • Restricted movement of the right knee 
  • An increased chance of requiring a further revision surgery within the next 10 years 
  • Continues to suffer ongoing pain and loss of amenity 
  • Ongoing mobility restrictions 
  • Inability to kneel / bend down 
  • Struggled to use stairs, ladders, walk on slopes or long distances 


The Case 

As a result of her avoidable pain and avoidable revision surgery, our client instructed us to take her case. Sophie McGarry, Solicitor Apprentice, took the case and was supervised by Darren Tamplin-Compton, Solicitor. 


Upon taking the case, we alleged the following – which was admitted by the Defendant: 

  • Our client’s right knee replacement was negligently performed in that the tibial component was implanted at 8 degrees which created an excessive posterior slope and further, that the procurvatum was positioned at 22 degrees, which was outside of a reasonable standard.  
  • There was a failure to identify the excessive posterior slope on the x-rays of 22nd June 2014.  
  • Failure to recognise the increase in posterior slope by both the Radiology and Orthopaedic departments  
  • Our client’s treating clinician should have inspected the imaging to identify the excessive varus procurvatum positioning of the tibial component. 
  • But for the mal-positioned tibial component, our client would have avoided a) right revision surgery; b) a prolonged 18-month recovery period; c) pain, suffering and restriction in the ability to drive for 4 months. 


In addition to the admitted allegations, our client alleged but the Defendant disputed that: 

  • But for the admitted breaches of duty, our client would have avoided the excess pain, swelling and limited movement during the period from October 2014 to the time of revision surgery in 2017  
  • She would also have avoided ongoing and permanent pain and substantially reduced restriction in the range of movement of her right knee, which is now limited  
  • But for the negligence, our client’s right knee would have been comparable to the left knee in terms of pain and range of motion.  
  • The Claimant’s overall function would therefore have been significantly improved and she would not have suffered ongoing and permanent functional restrictions. 
  • She would not have been required to take early retirement from her role as a medical secretary at the defendant Trust, due to the ongoing debilitating symptoms in her right knee.  
  • In addition, she now faces an increased risk of requiring further revision of the right knee, which her Orthopaedic Surgery expert suggested will occur within the next 10 years, on the balance of probabilities.   


The outcome 

Liability was admitted by the Defendant, however, the value of the case was disputed. 

Despite this, Sophie McGarry was able to fight for the best possible outcome for our client, who received £275,000 in compensation. When calculating the final compensation figure, the pain, suffering, and likely need and costs for future treatments were taken into account. As well as this, as our client had to take early retirement from her role in the NHS which she loved and unfortunately suffered loss of earnings and loss of pension. 

Our client is now looking to use some of her compensation to re-locate and buy a new property near her children and grandchildren. Our client hopes to be able to buy a bungalow so that it is more suitable for her needs. 


Reflecting on the case, Solicitor Apprentice Sophie McGarry said: 

“I am over the moon to have achieved such a fantastic settlement for this lovely lady. This case has been a particularly difficult one to deal with due to many obstacles along the way, settling just 3 months before Trial, but that has made the successful outcome all the more rewarding.  

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to deal with this case and my client truly has been first-class. She has been incredibly brave and strong throughout this process and held out for a settlement figure that she deserved, even though that meant coming so close to a Trial which she felt intimidated by.  

“The compensation will help my client to relocate to be with her children and grandchildren, in a home which more suitable for her mobility needs. I wish my client and her family the very best for the future, she certainly deserves it!” 


Our client followed this up saying: 

“I would just like to say a big thank you for all the hard work that went into settling my claim. I would like to thank Sophie for all her hard work from dealing with difficult people to being very kind and understanding all the way through, she really is a credit to her firm. Also thank you to Darren for helping me when I, at times, got a bit worried about what was going on. The firm is lucky to have you both, you make a great team. 

“My case handler and her supervisor have always explained everything so that it is easily understood. What an amazing company. 

“I could not have wished for better service and would like to thank everyone involved in my case.” 

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