'No evidence of negligence' in hip surgery case
A WOMAN who claimed a hip replacement operation left her with one leg shorter than the other has lost a High Court action for damages.
Noelle McGowan, of Joyce Avenue, Foxrock, Co Dublin, sued consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr Kieran O'Rourke for injuries she claimed were caused by surgery he carried out at Cappagh Hospital in Dublin on July 22, 2003.
She claimed that Dr O'Rourke had been negligent and in breach of his duty of care towards her.
Mr Justice John Quirke, in his final judgment before retiring, dismissed the action. He said there was no evidence Dr O'Rourke was guilty of any negligence. Neither had it been proved the doctor had deviated from the general and approved practice, he said.
Ms McGowan had claimed that as a result of surgery, her left hip became "vastly" displaced. Her left leg was longer than the right, she claimed.
She argued Dr O'Rourke had permitted a leg length discrepancy of 2.25cm to result from the surgery by failing to measure or template her before surgery.
She also alleged he inserted the wrong implant within the hip. He had used a stainless steel 44mm standard stem Charnley prosthesis when he should have used a 35mm three-quarter offset Charnley prosthesis, she claimed.
It resulted in her being unable to walk properly and she had endured worsening pain since the surgery, she said.
The claims were denied.
Dr O'Rourke said he had exercised reasonable and appropriate care and skill in performing the surgery. He had further complied with the general and approved medical practice.
Mr Justice Quirke said he accepted "the unchallenged evidence" by Dr O'Rourke's expert witness that "leg length discrepancy in total hip replacement surgery can only be minimised" and not avoided.
Dr O'Rourke, the judge said, "did not deviate" from general and approved practice regarding the prosthesis.
He also did not find Ms McGowan to be a reliable witness and found much of her testimony inconsistent.