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Knee surgery at Spire Bushey Hospital left sporty man in his 70s incapacitated

A man who has been left incapacitated by the results of knee surgery has settled his claim against Spire Healthcare.

Posted on 06 January 2023

The 75-year-old, who we have called Bernard, had a sporty lifestyle that included golf, cycling and swimming before he underwent operations to address osteoarthritis in both knees. He was not advised that arthroscopy was unlikely to provide him with any long-lasting benefit and was not advised about the risks of surgery. Had the risks been adequately explained to him, he would not have agreed to have surgery.

Bernard’s first knee surgery, an arthroscopy on his left knee, took place in July 2016 at Spire Bushey Hospital. Over the following months, Bernard could feel something popping and moving about in his left knee, which was especially noticeable when he used stairs or walked on uneven terrain.

Three months later, in October 2016, Bernard had similar surgery on his right knee. On this occasion, he was advised to stop taking Warfarin, a blood thinner, for three days before the operation. Bernard questioned this because he had been told to stop Warfarin for five days before his previous surgery in July 2016, which was standard practice. He was told that stopping Warfarin for 3 days would be adequate.

In addition, unlike the first surgery, Bernard’s INR reading, the blood clotting level, was not checked before he was anaesthetised. Had it been checked, it would have been noted as being at a level which was unsafe to proceed with surgery, which would have been cancelled.

After the operation, Bernard experienced agonising pain in his right knee. He suffered from significant bleeding and was discharged from hospital when he did not feel ready.

Three days later, he was in so much pain and his knee was so swollen and infected that Bernard’s GP advised him to go to the local NHS hospital accident and emergency department.

He was kept in hospital where, three days later, a physiotherapist noticed the popping issue with Bernard’s left knee. An x-ray revealed a fragment of bone lodged in the middle of the left knee joint which had to be removed during NHS surgery two weeks later and has since healed.

Bernard’s left knee has continued to cause him pain and discomfort.

Bernard instructed Leigh Day clinical negligence partner Angharad Vaughan who obtained expert evidence from an orthopaedic surgeon and haematologist and sent a Letter of Claim in February 2021. Spire Healthcare admitted liability for the complications following the right knee surgery, but not for the left knee injury. The claim was eventually settled for a substantial five figure sum.

Angharad Vaughan said:

“The complications Bernard suffered following his knee surgeries at Spire Bushey Hospital caused him significant pain and suffering. I am glad that we were able to secure a settlement that will compensate him for his injuries and enable him to move on with his life.”

Bernard said:

“I am grateful to Angharad for her help and expertise in this matter. I hope that no other patient has to suffer as I did as a result of such careless failings in care.”

Angharad Vaughan
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