8th October 2018

Question:

I underwent keyhole knee surgery in November 2016 having suffered arthritis for many years. During the surgery, I suffered damage to a major artery and had to undergo emergency corrective surgery to repair the damage. Following this I have been left with significant nerve damage restricting my mobility and causing me a great deal of pain. I previously worked as a personal trainer but have been unable to return to employment due to the pain and my restricted mobility. I have to take daily medication to alleviate my symptoms and use a walking stick to walk long distances. Given the devastating impact this has had on my life would I be entitled to compensation?

Answer:

Keyhole knee surgery is considered a routine procedure and one of the most effective methods to treat arthritis. Unfortunately, a rare but serious risk of complication in such a surgery is damage to a major artery. The question therefore is whether the damage arose from a negligently performed operation.

The individual circumstances of your case would need to be considered by an orthopaedic and a vascular surgeon to determine whether the surgeon’s actions during the operation would be considered substandard. A court will rely on the standard expected as explained by these experts. If it was established that there were failings at the time of the surgery then you would need to establish that this negligence had resulted in your loss i.e. the damaged artery and your pain and suffering. You would need to show that you would not have suffered the nerve pain and restricted mobility had the arterial damage not occurred.

If you were successful you would be able to claim damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity as well as for any loss of earnings and expenses incurred.

It is important to bear in mind the statutory limitation periods involved in these types of claims which dictate how long you would have to bring a claim in negligence. You would need to issue your claim within 3 years of the date of your operation or when you knew something had not gone to plan. Claims in clinical negligence take a great deal of time to prepare involving obtaining medical records, instructing experts to produce reports, exchanging details of the claim with the Hospital Trust’s representatives and  negotiating damages therefore if you are interested in pursuing this matter we would recommend that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible for initial advice.

We have a specialist Clinical Negligence team – to contact us please phone on 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.


Please note that this advice was correct at the time of writing. However there may have been changes in the law or procedure since that date. If you are in doubt you should obtain up to date legal advice.