Hip Replacement Hell For Pensioners

Hip replacement operation

23.06.2009

A leading lawyer has raised serious concern after hip replacement operations at a private Huddersfield hospital left at least three pensioners needing their new hip joint removed.

Lawyers from national law firm Irwin Mitchell are currently investigating claims on behalf of three Huddersfield women, all in their early to mid 60s, who suffered abnormal pain and discomfort following failed hip replacements at the Nuffield Hospital in Huddersfield during 2005.

One lady – 65-year-old Jill Turner, from Holmfirth, Huddersfield – was even forced to manage without a hip joint for three months while she waited for it to be replaced.

Irwin Mitchell has since learnt that 26 NHS patients, all under the care of surgeon Dr Emmanuel Tolessa, may well have experienced similar problems.

The hip joint used in all the procedures is not approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), and according to an orthopaedic consultant at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary it would not have been used had the treatment taken place there.

However, one of the three patients currently being represented by Irwin Mitchell was an NHS patient who had been referred to the Nuffield Hospital for private treatment by Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Gary Walker, a clinical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell said: "We understand that 26 procedures using this particular joint were carried out by the same surgeon at Huddersfield’s Nuffield hospital on an NHS basis between 2005 and 2006, using the same type of prosthesis.

"We are extremely concerned about the use of this relatively unknown type of medical device and of the treatment and level of care that these individuals received and will now be looking closely into why our clients suffered such unnecessary pain after what is usually a routine operation and what, if any, checks the NHS carry out when referring NHS patients to private hospitals for surgery.

"Their mobility problems ended up being made far worse by the surgery and all three, although previously fit and healthy, now have major problems bending and walking. Their quality of life has very much suffered as a result and it has been a very distressing ordeal for them."

Jill Turner received a new hip joint at the Nuffield Hospital in Huddersfield in October 2005. However, shortly after the surgery she began experiencing strong muscular pain and noticed a considerable difference in her leg lengths of nearly three centimetres.

Over the next 11 months she suffered chronic back and thigh pain. Nearly a year later she had to have her hip joint removed after being told by that no allowance had been made for her shallow hip joint and that the hip prosthesis had been inserted at the wrong angle which was causing her muscle to twist.

Mrs Turner said: "After my operation I was very keen to get back on my feet and get back to normal but despite regular physiotherapy and exercise I was still really struggling to walk and I was in complete agony a month after my operation. My Aunt, who has had 3 hip replacements, was shocked at how much pain I was in."

Six months down the line Mrs Turner was so desperate to do something to alleviate the pain that she went back to her GP who immediately referred her to Wrightington Hospital for corrective surgery.

Mrs Turner continued: "In September 2006, nearly a year after my original operation, I had the hip joint removed. I had to wait three months before the new hip joint could be re-implanted and found life during this period extremely difficult.

"I had to hop around on one leg and live upstairs. I only went downstairs once a day and would only go out in my wheelchair very occasionally as it was such a strain to get into it.

"I now manage to go out walking which I love but I still suffer from bad cramp as there is residual damage to the muscle surrounding my hip. I do not know what long term effect the revisionary surgery will have on me as I get older, which is really quite scary. I am very upset that what I thought was going to be such a routine operation has affected my life so dramatically."

Gary Walker added: "Mrs Turner trusted her Consultant and agreed to the surgery, believing that it would improve her quality of life. Sadly, it has had the opposite effect and the complications have had a major impact and she has been left with mobility problems and an uncertain future.

"It is totally unacceptable that this simple procedure left her with such a life altering disability. It is also extremely worrying that there are potentially another 23 people who may be facing the same terrible prospects."