Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Over Hip Replacement Surgery

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Medical Malpractice Published on February 28, 2024 and updated on April 17, 2024.

hip implants on deskHip replacement surgery can be life-changing for people with hip injuries or arthritis, helping to relieve pain and stiffness and improve mobility.

The problem is that the procedure is invasive and carries a risk of severe complications, such as infections, blood clots, fractures and osteolysis. Sometimes these complications are a result of medical malpractice, which means they could have been avoided.

In this blog, the experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl discuss medical malpractice lawsuits for hip replacement surgery. We explain what can go wrong and when victims may have the right to seek compensation for additional medical care and other damages.

Call to schedule your free legal consultation: 410-244-7005. Zero upfront costs.

What are the Risks of Hip Replacement Surgery?

Any time doctors perform surgery, there is a risk of complications. That said, the risks increase during more invasive procedures. Hip replacement surgery certainly qualifies as an invasive procedure.

Here is a list of some of the things that could go wrong after the procedure:

  • Infection: Surgery can lead to infections at the incision site or the surrounding tissues. The infection could spread to the implant itself, which may mean doctors need to remove and replace the implant. Infections can be challenging to treat, resulting in significant medical expenses.
  • Blood clots: The risk of developing blood clots in the leg veins or lungs increases after surgery. Blood clots can be life-threatening.
  • Nerve damage: Doctors can damage nerves in your hip with surgical instruments, causing numbness, weakness or pain.
  • Hip dislocation: The new joint may dislocate if the ball comes out of its socket. This could be caused by improper positioning during surgery or weak muscles around the hip. Dislocation can cause significant pain and mobility issues.
  • Fracture: During surgery, healthy parts of your hip joint may fracture, potentially requiring additional surgeries to repair.
  • Implant loosening or wear: Over time, the implant may loosen or wear down, leading to pain and possibly the need for revision surgery.
  • One leg being longer than the other: After surgery, there might be a noticeable difference in the lengths of your legs, which can impair your gait and posture. This is often caused by improper placement of the implant or using an implant that is the wrong size.
  • Osteolysis: Bone around the implant may deteriorate due to debris from the wear of the implant materials, leading to loosening and pain. This condition is usually a reaction to polyethylene wear particles.
  • Vascular injury: This is a rare but serious side effect of hip replacement surgery. Doctors could damage blood vessels around the hip, leading to bleeding and circulatory problems.
  • Compartment syndrome: Increased pressure within the muscle compartments around the hip can reduce blood flow, endangering tissue and requiring emergency intervention.
  • Chronic pain: Patients may experience ongoing pain due to nerve damage, implant misalignment or other surgical complications, significantly affecting their quality of life.

Sometimes complications after hip replacement are a result or design or manufacturing defects that increase the risk of failure. These defects can cause a range of problems, including metallosis, when metal-on-metal implants release metal particles into the body.

It is vital for patients to understand the risks of hip replacement surgery, as it allows them to make informed decisions about the procedure and prepare for potential complications.

What Is Hip Replacement Malpractice?

Medical malpractice means doctors failed to uphold the standard of care when providing treatment, and this caused injury to the patient. The standard of care is a complex legal concept that refers to the care that would have been provided by another similarly situated medical professional.

Fulfilling the standard of care demands meticulous attention to surgical protocols, careful monitoring of patients after surgery and a patient-centered approach to care. When doctors fail to take these steps, serious or potentially life-threatening injuries can occur.

There are numerous examples of medical malpractice with hip replacement surgery:

Surgical Errors

Incorrect implant placement can lead to misalignment, instability and dislocation. This could be because of poor surgical planning or carelessness during the procedure itself.

Poor Post-Operative Care

A common example is discharging a patient from the hospital too quickly. This is just one of many forms of poor care after surgery, which can result in various complications, like implant loosening or failure. Post-operative infections, if not promptly diagnosed and treated, can cause severe complications, including sepsis and the need for implant removal. Misreading lab test results is another example of poor post-operative care.

Defective Implants

Use of implants with design or manufacturing flaws can result in premature failure, metallosis and the need for revision surgeries.

Improper Patient Screening

Failing to adequately assess a patient’s suitability for hip replacement can lead to poor outcomes if underlying health issues are overlooked.

Failure to Inform

Not providing patients with complete information on the risks associated with the surgery and alternative treatments violates the principle of informed consent.

Malpractice claims may arise when these actions result in injuries and damages. For example, you may have a case if you needed additional surgeries and are dealing with prolonged pain or permanent disability.

What to do if You Think You Were a Victim of Hip Replacement Malpractice

If you believe you are a victim of hip replacement malpractice, taking the following steps can help protect your rights:

  • Seek medical attention: Prioritize your health by addressing any complications with a healthcare professional.
  • Document everything: Keep detailed records of your medical visits, treatments and communications with healthcare providers.
  • Consult an experienced lawyer: Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex personal injury cases that are filed. You need to review the situation with an attorney who has taken on these cases before and can explain whether malpractice may have happened.

Do You Have Complications From Your Hip Replacement? Contact Us Today

The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is dedicated to advocating for victims of medical malpractice, striving to ensure that they receive the justice and compensation they deserve.

If you have reason to believe the problems related to your hip replacement could have been avoided, contact our experienced law firm to discuss legal options. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay legal fees unless we secure a settlement or verdict in your favor. The initial consultation is also free.

Licensed Attorneys. Millions Recovered. Call us today at: 410-244-7005.