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Case Study: Multiple Unsuccessful Attempts to Repair Cruciate Ligament Damage
Denis, 32 years old
A case has been settle for £190,000 after a man endured unsuccessful attempts to repaired cruciate ligament damage.
Original ACL surgery and subsequent issues
Denis, 32, underwent anterior cruciate ligament repair to his left knee following a skiing accident. He was advised beforehand that this would involve drilling through the kneecap.
Following surgery, he suffered a great deal of pain and was informed there had been complications during the operation. The kneecap (patella) had been broken and wired back together. Denis remained in hospital for about five days and was in plaster for several weeks. Prior to the operation, he had expected to be away from work for about six weeks, but in fact was not able to return for eight months, undertaking light duties only.
Some months later, an X-Ray showed the patella fracture was not healing and a bone graft from the hip was taken. He was discharged after four days in a full leg plaster.
Manipulations of the knee
After three months, Denis underwent the first of several manipulations of the knee under general anaesthetic to try to improve flexibility and movement. He attended for further manipulations each week for about a month, and on each occasion the plaster cast was removed and then replaced. After the final manipulation, Denis was informed that nothing further could be done for him.
Six months later, Denis sought a second opinion from an orthopaedic consultant at another hospital, and underwent an examination under anaesthetic. He was informed that the anterior cruciate ligament appeared to be loose - not attached to any structure - and it was not possible to repair it after so long. He was also advised that the kneecap was damaged beyond repair.
Double Benjamin operation
Intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy did little to improve matters, and Denis was advised the only option left to try was an operation called a “Double Benjamin”, which involves the removal of wedge-shaped pieces of bone from above and below the knee to help straighten the leg.
This procedure was undertaken, but was not a success and the knee remained stiff and painful. Denis was given the option of having the knee fused into a permanently fixed position, but he decided against this.
Denis now suffers constant pain and aching in the knee, which greatly affects his mobility. He cannot straighten or bend the knee and is able to walk only 50 yards. His reduced mobility and pain levels have had a bearing on his employability and he currently does not work. He can drive only very short distances and is no longer able to participate in sports - something he enjoyed prior to his injury. He will never ski again and will almost certainly require a knee replacement sometime in the future.
The Trust admitted that during the initial operation, excessive bone was removed from the patella. This caused a fracture - and JMW Solicitors settled the case for a sum of £190,000.