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Surgery Negligence

Scarf and Akin Bunion Surgery

After undergoing bunion surgery, Nicola began to suffer serious pain in her foot, hindering her mobility. It became apparent that the operation had not been a success, and a number of mistakes had been made.

Nicola had an operation to her left foot, both to remove a bunion and to straighten a hammer toe (which was the second toe on her left foot). The operation, called Scarf and Akin osteotomies, involved the insertion of two screws into the hammer toe, and a staple being put into the proximal joint of the big toe. Before being discharged, Nicola was given a special sandal to wear, although she was not advised on how to wear it, nor was she given crutches.

She remained immobile for six weeks, and was unable to leave the house. Eventually she began to make a slow but steady recovery. At the beginning of December she had a pin removed from her hammer toe, and by the end of the month she began to phase out her walking aids. Even so, it was not until three months after the operation that she felt able to return to work.

However, within a month, Nicola's condition began to deteriorate. Her foot became very swollen and red, and she attended a hospital for X-rays, where she was also informed she should be wearing an airboot (although she had not previously been advised to do so).

The orthopaedic surgeon who carried out the operation then reviewed the X-rays. It soon became apparent that the staple in her big toe had been poorly inserted, causing the bone to split. Subsequently Nicola remained in a plaster cast for 12 weeks, but still the fracture did not heal. There was little else that could be done, and Nicola was told she should simply carry on wearing an airboot. In time the fracture did mend itself, but the foot remains awkward and aches occasionally. Additionally, Nicola suffered nerve damage to her hammer toe, and regularly experiences a burning sensation.

After contacting Glynns, we arranged for an orthopaedic surgeon to review Nicola's case. In his report, it was found that a staple had indeed penetrated the joint in Nicola's big toe, even though measures should have been taken to prevent this from happenning. Furthermore, this staple should in fact have been removed after the osteotomy had healed. This failed to be done time and time again, and as a result Nicola will continue to experience degenerative changes to her toe. These will get worse over time and a fusion of the joint may be required in the future.

In light of this sub-standard level of care, we helped Nicola file a clinical negligence claim. Although liability was denied, the case settled for over £8,000.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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