A GIRL was left with ‘avoidable pain and suffering’ following a delay in diagnosis and treatment for a hip condition.
Josephine George from Leamington was 11 when she visited her GP complaining of pain in her left knee and hip. At the time, she was diagnosed with a tear in her thigh muscles.
She struggled with pain for months before being given an xray which showed she had a condition known as slipped upper femoral epiphysis (SUFE) – a break in the ball joint of the hip, resulting in the thigh bone slipping out of the socket and twisting outwards.
Josephine – who is now 15 – underwent surgery twice but continues to suffer with pain and mobility issues and will need further treatment.
Medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell were asked to investigate her care under South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), and whether her condition should have been diagnosed sooner.
Both trusts admitted a breach in Josephine’s care after examinations were confirmed to have been inadequate.
It was further admitted, had she been fully assessed she would have been referred for urgent investigations and a SUFE would have been diagnosed. As a result, she ‘suffered avoidable pain and suffering that would have been avoided with earlier treatment’ the trusts said.
They have agreed an interim payment which will be used to seek private treatment as she awaits further surgery.
Mum Rachel George said: “The last few years have been incredibly upsetting for us all and Josephine has had to endure so much unnecessary pain and suffering.
“It took so long for us to get the correct diagnosis and then it was followed by surgery and the osteoplasty. There are concerns whether her condition could possibly lead to early onset osteoarthritis, calluses in her hip joint and wearing away of her bone. We have been told that if the planned surgery is not successful, Josephine could require a hip replacement in her 20s which is a very scary thought.
“It is all very difficult for Josephine to comprehend. She is still so young and used to be a very active and sporty girl before this happened. She has even changed her job aspirations as she will not be able to work in certain professions due to her condition.
“It’s really hard for us to see her struggle, and we support her as much as we can.
“We are pleased the hospital trusts have admitted their failings, but it doesn’t change what our daughter has gone through, and to find out it could have been avoided is not easy to accept.”
Josephine began to feel pain in her left knee and hip after sport. Her GP diagnosed a thigh muscle tear and she was referred to a physiotherapist and advised to use Deep Heat.
The following month Josephine attended a physiotherapy appointment. Three days later, she collapsed in pain and was unable to stand or walk. She attended A&E where the diagnosis of a tear was reinforced.
In May 2017 she returned to A&E on the advice of her physiotherapist. She underwent an x-ray and SUFE was diagnosed. Josephine’s leg was immediately immobilised and she underwent surgery the following day.
Josephine struggled with pain and needed crutches following surgery and in July 2018 underwent a further operation.
She has now been recommended further surgery which has been put on hold due to the pandemic.
Her family say she was once a ‘very active youngster’ but is now limited in what she can do.
A SWFT spokeswoman said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to Josephine. We are working with her solicitors to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”
And a UHB spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry that Josephine did not receive the care that she should expect from us and for the pain she has experienced. Our legal team are working with Josephine’s solicitors to resolve this matter as soon as we can.”