FL –V– SN
The Plaintiff’s claim in this case arose out of alleged negligence on the part of the Defendant Hospital in failing to diagnose a faulty knee prosthesis over a number of years, resulting in little or no quality of life for the Plaintiff, severe and debilitating pain, unnecessary treatment, and an addiction to painkilling medication.
In March 2003, the Plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering with an osteogenic sarcoma in his right knee. In July of that year, he underwent a resection of the tumour and the insertion of a prosthesis. The Plaintiff was 36 years of age at the time. The prosthesis was faulty from the outset and revision surgery was carried out in May 2004. From that date forth, the Plaintiff was in severe pain and discomfort. He attended at the Defendant Hospital on a number of occasions but was repeatedly assured that there was no difficulty with his prosthesis. In an attempt to control his pain, he was referred to a Consultant in Palliative Medicine and was prescribed a regime of painkilling medication. This unfortunately did not alleviate his symptoms. He was then referred to a Consultant Pain Specialist for insertion of a spinal cord stimulator, but this too yielded little or no benefit. Eventually, in October 2008, whilst attending for a routine follow-up in another Hospital, a bone scan was ordered which showed changes consistent with a fault in the prosthesis. The Plaintiff was referred back to the Defendant Hospital where further revision surgery was carried out in December 2008, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the Plaintiff’s condition and an alleviation of his pain. Throughout this period of time, as a result of the severe and debilitating pain, the Plaintiff had been unable to work, walk, play with his children, or mobilise upstairs at home. The Plaintiff had been an industrial roofer for 15 years beforehand. He became addicted to strong morphine based prescription pain killing medication and at one point, the pain had been so severe and persistent that he had asked Doctors to amputate his leg. The Plaintiff had also been forced to undergo the unnecessary procedures of inserting and removing a spinal cord stimulator.
The basis of the Plaintiff’s claim was that the Defendant and their agents were negligent in failing to detect a definitive abnormality visible on x-rays and scans taken in their Hospital from March 2004 onwards. It was alleged that they were negligent in failing to detect the distortion and breaking of screws in the prosthesis, and the loosening of certain components. It was alleged that they were negligent in failing to make the correct diagnosis and treat the Plaintiff in a proper and timely manner, as a result of which, the Plaintiff suffered severe and debilitating injuries over a prolonged period of time.
This case was complicated by a number of factors. Proceedings were issued on the 27th of August 2010. After much difficulty, we obtained a Defence from the Defendants in which they admitted a number of particulars of negligence but denied that they had caused the injuries of the Plaintiff or that he had suffered the injuries as alleged. Shortly before trial however, new reports were furnished by the Defendants which appeared to change their case and entirely deny both negligence and causation. Tragically, the Plaintiff also developed a further cancerous tumour independent of the case and as a result, the action had to be expedited through the Courts with a special application being made for an early hearing date. Eventually, following extensive negotiations, the case settled on the first day of trial for €200,000 and the Plaintiff’s full costs.
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09 July 2013