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Orthopaedic injuries are suffered every day and may be more common than you think. You may have suffered from or be suffering from an orthopaedic injury, but be unaware of what the term orthopaedic means and/or your injury may not have been identified to you as such.
What is an orthopaedic injury?
Orthopaedics is a medical term used to describe injuries and conditions, which involve and/or affect the body’s musculoskeletal system. Specifically, this system encompasses:
A serious orthopaedic injury may certainly be life changing and/or life limiting if it leads to, say, the loss of a limb, a permanent paralysis or the inability to walk.
Accordingly, if the worst happens and you suffer injury/harm as a result of a surgical procedure on your musculoskeletal system, and that injury/harm results from action that does not meet required medical standards, then you might be entitled to compensation.
How is it possible for orthopaedic injuries to happen?
Orthopaedic injuries happen during or after procedures involving the musculoskeletal system. Sometimes, the procedures arise from having surgery. Such procedures are usually undertaken by orthopaedic surgeons, who despite their training, do sometimes fail to diagnose, manage or treat fractures in the right way, which then unfortunately results in avoidable and unnecessary suffering for the patient.
What are the most common causes of orthopaedic injuries occurring?
These are as follows, but please note the list is not exhaustive:
- Ankle Surgery
- Arm Surgery
- Back Surgery
- Foot Surgery
- Hip Replacement
- Knee Replacement/Surgery
- Leg Surgery
- Shoulder Surgery
What injury/harm may result if the procedure goes wrong?
Again, this list is not exhaustive, but the following may result:
- broken bones or fractures being missed, which may result in permanent disability or ongoing mobility issues;
- above and below knee amputations;
- failed knee and hip replacement procedures, which includes failed hip replacement leading to further surgery and bone loss;
- damage to internal organs;
- spinal surgery; and
- avoidable fractures being suffered to for example the spine, wrist, shoulder or elbow.
Summary of orthopaedic failures
These can categorised and/or summarised as follows:
1) Complications arising from treatment
These in themselves are not evidence of medical negligence, but are unintended consequences that can happen, even when a high standard of care has been exercised by the treating doctor. Therefore, unless you are able to show that you have suffered harm/injury because the conduct of the medical professional fell below the standards required of them, then it might be difficult to establish that you have a valid claim for clinical negligence.
2) Missed fractures
Sometimes, fractures can be missed. This will be painful for the sufferer and may also detrimentally affect the healing process. Why does this happen though when surely the fracture should be showing on your x-ray? Whilst many orthopaedic specialists do assess and/or identify fractures correctly, you may find that yours has unfortunately missed one that another specialist would deem to be clear on an x-ray. If fractures are not treated promptly then the bone-healing process may be disrupted, which may consequently result in on-going mobility issues.
3) Surgical errors
In some cases and as set out above, negligence can happen during the surgery itself. For example, not replacing a knee or hip in accordance with the correct procedure, or damaging an internal organ. However, the ultimate result of negligent/poorly performed procedures can be a significant reduction in your quality of life. Additionally, and unfortunately, such problems may not arise and/or be obvious straight away, and may in fact only become apparent upon further assessment at a later stage.
4) Warning signs
This is particularly serious as there may have been a failure to identify the warning signs and/or clear symptoms which might be indicative of there being a medical emergency that will lead to a catastrophic injury or a significant disability if it is not treated immediately.
5) Post-operative issues
Mistakes which arise after the procedure has been undertaken may also result in a clinical negligence claim. These are known as secondary issues or secondary treatment mistakes, but are related to the orthopaedic surgery itself. For example, a bandage applied during surgery may have been on the wound for too long, which consequently then causes tissue damage and subsequent problems.
Before consenting to the procedure, you should have been warned as to the potential risks involved and/or implications of the same so that you were in a position to make a fully informed decision to undergo that surgery. Should this not have happened and/or you feel that your full consent wasn’t obtained then it’s possible that you might be eligible for compensation.
Making a compensation claim for Orthopaedic Injury Negligence
Orthopaedic injury compensation claims, and clinical negligence claims in general, can be complicated. They frequently involve detailed investigations and a great deal of evidence to prove your case.
Fortunately, Truth Legal has overcome such obstacles many times for our clients. We have the expertise to take claims forward and the tenacity to fight for as high a compensation award as possible.
For further information on what is involved in a clinical negligence claim, then have a look at our clinical negligence claim page by clicking here or by getting in touch with us.
Using Truth Legal to make your Orthopaedic Injury Claim
Truth Legal’s solicitors have the skill and experience to recover compensation in even the most hard-fought cases. We have successfully dealt with many personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
Meet some of our specialist solicitors:
Gary is the Head of our Clinical Negligence team. He has over 30 years’ experience of dealing with a wide variety of clinical negligence claims, with particular expertise in medical negligence, hospital negligence, surgical negligence and also orthopaedic injury claims.
Helen is a personal injury solicitor with over 20 years’ experience dealing with complex personal injury claims, with particular expertise in brain injury claims.