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Failure to carry out shoulder replacement correctly

Defendants: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The Facts

The claimant, a 50 year old woman, had successfully undergone a right shoulder replacement in 2003. She regained full pain free movement. A few years later, her left shoulder started causing her problems and she returned to the same surgeon who advised that she would need a partial shoulder replacement. She had full confidence in her surgeon and opted to have the procedure.

Unfortunately, the surgeon left the NHS and she was transferred to another team. On the day of the operation, shortly before she was due to be taken to theatre, a different doctor came to see her who advised that she would be doing a full shoulder replacement instead of a partial shoulder replacement. She began to experience problems with her recovery soon after the operation, and had restricted movement.

A scan later revealed that the prosthesis had been inserted too low down and that two tendons seemed to be floating around the shoulder instead of being in their proper place.

The client was advised to undergo revision surgery, which was a more complex procedure than the original surgery should have been.


  • Failing to give the claimant sufficient notice of the change in proposed surgery
  • Failing to perform the full shoulder replacement correctly
  • Failing to identify that the prosthesis had been inserted incorrectly
  • Failing to correct the position intra-operatively


Court proceedings were issued and served. When the case was near to court, the defendants put forward an offer in the sum of £70,000 which the the client wanted to accept.