GP Admits Urgent Referral Should Have Been Made After Family Instruct Medical Negligence Lawyers
The family of a girl left with mobility issues following a delay in diagnosing a dislocated hip are raising awareness of signs of the condition.
Gabrielle Silva, from Eastbourne, was aged six months when she was taken to see a GP in September 2012. Gabrielle’s mum Sonia, 36, said she had noticed her daughter had an abnormal posture and her hips were in an abnormal position. She was not referred for further investigation and her mum was reassured.
After several visits to the GP, Gabrielle was eventually referred to an orthopaedic specialist in April 2015. Gabrielle was diagnosed with dislocation and reduced movement in her right hip as a result of a hip dysplasia - a shallow socket leading to instability of the joint, which had been present since birth. She subsequently underwent surgery that November.
Following Gabrielle’s diagnosis, her parents instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care she received from the GP and whether her condition should have been diagnosed sooner. The legal team are also helping Gabrielle access the specialist therapies she requires as part of her recovery.
Through the MDU, and after a long legal battle, the doctor finally confirmed that liability is no longer contested in this case and the parties can concentrate on valuing Gabrielle’s claim so that all her needs arising out of the late diagnosis are covered for the future.
Gabrielle’s parents, Sonia and Helder, 40, have now joined their legal team in calling for lessons to be learned.
Expert Opinion“Gabrielle hasn’t had an easy childhood, having to undergo surgery for a dislocated hip and living with the effects of the condition.
Her family suspected for a few years that there was something not quite right with her mobility, but the referral and diagnosis were significantly delayed. Gabrielle and her parents fear the impact of the delay could lead to her requiring long-term treatment as well as continuing to live with mobility issues all her life.
While nothing can make up for what the family have been through, we appreciate the defendant finally admitting that the GP’s duty of care to Gabrielle was breached.
We’ll continue to support Gabrielle and her family by ensuring she has access to the ongoing treatment and therapies she now requires and secure funds for her to cover any needs she may develop as a result of the delay in diagnosis of her condition in the future.
Gabrielle’s case is also a stark reminder of how important early diagnosis is when it comes to hip conditions.”
Ania Bean - Senior Associate
Following surgery in November 2015, Gabrielle had to wear a splint for at least 14 hours a day. She also attended many physiotherapy sessions.
In October 2016, Gabrielle underwent a second operation to remove pins that were inserted during the initial surgery.
Gabrielle is developing well now but experiences pain and discomfort in her limbs and there are concerns that she will need further interventions in the future.
Gabrielle lives with her parents and brother Goncalo, 12.
Sonia said: “I first took Gabrielle to see the doctor because Helder and I were concerned about the posture of her legs and how her feet wouldn’t adopt the same position when they were on the floor. We were told that there was nothing to worry about and it would correct over time.
“By the time she was starting to walk, her right leg was very wobbly and she was limping. Again, we were told it was nothing to be concerned about and Gabrielle was just finding her own way to learn to walk.
“We went on a trip to Portugal in April 2015 to visit my family, and my dad, who used to work around physiotherapists, was very concerned. When we got back, I took Gabrielle to see the GP again and he eventually referred her.
“We were told Gabrielle had her hip condition since birth. This was incredibly upsetting for us all. And when we received the news about her requiring surgery, I was so angry and frustrated.
“While there is nothing I can do to change what happened and what Gabrielle may have to face in the future, I hope that by sharing our story it will raise awareness of the condition which is often present from birth and if diagnosed in the first year of life, it is a lot more manageable with less invasive treatment. I wouldn’t want another family going through what we have.”