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Henry's Story: Complications after unnecessary knee surgery

Henry received £15,500 in compensation after unnecessary surgery was carried out on his knee, leading to complications.

 Henry had previously undergone knee surgery involving a medial meniscectomy in 2008. In 2012 he developed pain in the same knee and initially underwent an MRI scan. This apparently revealed a tear of the medial meniscus. As a result he was listed for an examination under anaesthetic, arthroscopy and partial meniscectomy. However during the surgery, the surgeon proceeded to a microfracture procedure. Subsequent to the surgery, Henry developed a DVT which then developed into a pulmonary embolism requiring hospitalisation for 10 days before his recovery.

Initially it was thought that the claim revolved around whether sufficient consent had been obtained from Henry for the microfracture procedure as this involved a lengthier recovery period than the original operation envisaged involved.

A Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon was instructed to report on breach of duty. He reported that Henry was correctly consented for the surgery but he raised a concern as to the original interpretation of the MRI scan, as when he had the surgery in 2013 the operation note stated that the medial meniscus was noted as normal. As a result a radiological expert opinion was obtained. The expert radiologist noted that the radiologist who had reported the MRI scan had in fact queried whether he had previously had a medial meniscectomy, which of course he had.

Following this report the orthopaedic expert further reported that the surgeon who operated should have been aware, following the radiology report of the MRI scan, that the findings indicated a previous medial meniscectomy and not a new tear to the meniscus. The expert concluded that a reasonable body of opinion would not have subjected Henry to surgery and would have opted for conservative treatment instead. On the balance of probabilities such treatment would have settled the knee pain and Henry would not have needed the knee surgery and would also have avoided the resultant pulmonary embolism.

A letter of claim was sent to the Defendant Hospital Trust and in their letter of response breach of duty of care was admitted. An offer of £15,500 was put forward at the same time by the Trust and this was accepted by Henry.

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