Tiffany Laslett

SurgeryOur client, Briony first contacted us 5 years after she had undergone surgery for an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on her right knee.

Her knee did not improve following the surgery. In fact it got worse, especially with bending, squatting or any physically strenuous activities. She was otherwise fit and healthy and conscientiously followed the exercise and rehabilitation programs recommended by her physiotherapist and doctor, but it made no difference.

As time passed, she became increasingly despondent about her lack of progress. She tried to learn to live with it but struggled to do so, her depression effecting her sleep, her work and her family life.

Five years after her ACL reconstruction surgery, our client underwent an updated MRI of her knee.

To her shock and surprise, the radiologist reported that she had the remnant of a surgical drain inside her knee.

She required further surgery to remove the drain.

Upon removal of the drain, her knee did improve but the long period of time she had been mobilising with the drain in situ, her increased reliance on her other leg during the intervening years, and the psychological impact of her ongoing pain and discomfort, had more than a temporary effect on her life.

On the face of it, proving the negligence of the hospital theatre staff in failing to remove the drain following the ACL surgery should have been straightforward. However, the hospital tried to assert that the presence of the drain should have been detected and reported by the radiologist who undertook an MRI of Briony’s knee less than 6 months after the initial surgery, which would have led to earlier removal of the drain.

Eventually, with the engagement of appropriate experts, and ongoing negotiations with the solicitors for the hospital and the radiologist, the hospital conceded negligence and the claim was able to be resolved for a substantial sum.

This case illustrates that even the most straightforward circumstances of medical negligence can become complicated and highlights the importance of engaging solicitors with not only expertise in personal injury litigation, but in medical negligence claims.