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Failure to Diagnose Hip Dysplasia – $625,000 Settlement

Plaintiff was born with a condition known as hip dysplasia, a condition in which laxity exists in the hip joint. Laxity in a newborn’s hip joint leads to irregular development of the joint if not timely detected and treated. Treatment is non-operative if detected early and merely involves 6-8 weeks use of a Pavlik harness device. Early detection of hip dysplasia and use of a Pavlik harness generally results in an excellent prognosis.

At birth, the labor and delivery nurse performed a head to toe evaluation of the child and documented a “click” in the child’s left hip. A “click” in a newborn’s hip is a well-known marker for hip dysplasia.

Two of the Defendant physicians examined the child’s hips before she was released from the hospital, but both failed to detect the left hip irregularity. Also, there was no indication that the two physicians had reviewed the labor and delivery nurse’s chart note regarding the child’s left hip click.

Thereafter, the Defendant physicians examined the child at numerous well baby checks, but failed to detect hip dysplasia. Also, the child’s mother arranged for appointments with the Defendant physicians when the child was 15 months old and again at 18 months concerning the child’s limping and tip toe walking (behaviors characteristic of hip dysplasia). Still no diagnosis was made or suspected. Immediately following the child’s 18 month appointment, the mother took the child to a pediatric orthopedist who diagnosed the dysplasia and instituted treatment immediately. Unfortunately, the child suffers from an arthritic hip which will result in partial disability. She will likely require at least 2 hip replacements during her lifetime. Settlement: $625,000.00.