Delayed Diagnosis of Congenital Hip Dysplasia | Can You Make A Medical Negligence Claim?

Development Dysplasia or Dislocation of the Hip (DDH) is a medical condition in which the hip joint’s ball and socket fail to develop appropriately in infants and young children. In this condition, the baby’s hip joint socket is too shallow for the thigh bone to align in a secure and well-fitted manner. Due to this, the hip joint becomes loose, which, in severe cases, leads the thigh bone to dislocate from its natural position. 

Development Dysplasia of the Hip is more common in female children, as well as firstborns. However, if the condition is not diagnosed at an early stage, the situation worsens, which can lead to a series of serious problems. Therefore, if the diagnosis is delayed, parents can make a medical negligence claim to seek compensation. 

On the other hand, if the Development Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) is diagnosed at an early stage, the appropriate treatment can be carried out to ensure that the child is able to lead a normal life. There is not a precautionary method that can be employed to prevent Development Dysplasia of the Hip from occurring. However, the effect the condition has on the child depends upon the stage at which it is diagnosed and treated. 

Gathering Evidence for a Delayed Diagnosis 

If you suspect that the diagnosis for DDH is delayed, it is imperative to get access to the child’s medical records, which can prove the negligence of the medical institution. There is a standard practice of checking the degree of normalcy in infants that hospitals are required to follow. After a baby is born, a series of checks are carried out, which can be extended to a six week period.  The newborn physical examination is carried out initially, which must be completed within the duration of 72 hours, following the birth. The newborn physical examination assesses the infant’s hip joints to detect the flexibility in movement.  This stage highlights the possibility of an issue.

In addition to the newborn physical examination, the Neonatal and Infant Physical Examination or NIPE is carried out on the baby. This test must be performed after four to six hours have passed from birth. The window for NIPE is also 72 from the time of delivery. In case any concerns are identified in NIPE’s results, an ultrasound of the baby’s hips must be carried out before the infant is six weeks old. 

The hip’s ultrasound becomes necessary in the ensuing conditions:

  • The NIPE results highlighted a reason to be concerned. 
  • There have been childhood hip problems in the family’s medical history
  • The baby was in a breech position in the last month of pregnancy 
  • The baby was delivered in breech position 
  • In the case of twins, triplets or the birth of multiple children, if a concern is raised for one baby, the ultrasound should be carried out for all babies. 

If the medical institution fails to carry out any of these tests, which delayed the diagnosis and treatment, you may use the evidence to make a medical negligence claim. 

Identifying the Warning Signs

Development Dysplasia or Dislocation of the Hip (DDH) is sometimes not apparent in the conducted tests. In such scenarios, it is the responsibility of the parents, as well as the doctor, to look for signs and symptoms. Some of these factors include: 

  • Asymmetrical buttocks or groin creases
  • Clicking sound in the hips
  • Rigidity in parting the infant’s legs 
  • Limited range of motion

If you observed and reported these symptoms to the child’s doctor, yet your claims were dismissed,  you can make a medical negligence claim to get compensation. 

Gathering Evidence for Delayed Treatment 

The success of treatment for Development Dysplasia or Dislocation of the Hip (DDH) depends upon the precocity and the quickness of the diagnosis. In case the diagnosis is made, appropriate treatment is carried out as quickly as possible. The treatment for DDH includes adding a soft positioning device or brace until a hip is repositioned. However, in severe cases, intrusive surgeries are also carried out. If the treatment is carried out instantaneously, the infant’s development can be resumed normally, and full range movement is permitted. 

On the other hand, if the diagnosis or treatment is delayed, intrusive surgeries may be carried out. Moreover, the child may also develop long term problems, including the development of limp, chronic hip pain, stiff joints, as well as osteoarthritis.

Seeking a Medical Negligence Claim in Scotland 

If the institution or the doctor is at fault, you can submit a medical negligence claim to get compensation to cover the child’s treatment and accommodation costs. You can seek assistance from an experienced medical negligence claims solicitor, as they can aim to get long-term compensation to deal with any issue that may arise in the future. 

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