It has been reported by the BBC that the rate of late diagnoses for checking newborns for hip problems has not improved since screening began more than 30 years ago.

Conditions such as DDH (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip) can be treated if they are picked up early in babies.

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Leading Medical Negligence Lawyer Laura Sparrow, who suffers from hip dysplasia herself, had the following comments on the story:

"As a sufferer of a congenital hip disorder myself, and having acted for several clients who were failed to be screened for this disorder as they should have been, this story is one that particularly saddens me. DDH is a condition which, usually, if diagnosed and treated early can save a patient from lifelong mobility problems and pain.

Hip dysplasia occurs when the socket of the joint (the acetabulum) is deformed in some way, usually growing flat, so the ball at the top of the joint cannot fit into a socket which helps stabilise the hip and also distributes weight and pressure across the whole joint rather than a small point on the ball which occurs in those with acetabular deformity and placing more onus on the ligaments and muscles to do this job. It occurs more in women than men, but that is not say that men are excluded from this condition.

Failure to diagnose DDH at an early stage can lead to significant issues as the patient’s skeleton grows. This may well result in a number of operations during childhood. Surgical intervention could well have been avoided had the diagnosis been made sooner. Symptoms for dysplasia may well include pain in the hip, weakness leading to slow progression to walking etc, knee pain referred from the hip, arthritis, as well as many others. Treatment in late diagnosed DDH can include periacetabular osteotomy and hip replacement.

At present, it is not obligatory to scan all children, but certainly there are red flags which can raise the need for this scanning which can be identified even before the child is born, including the baby lying in the breech position, uneven leg length, floppy leg, etc.

I hope that this type of screening does become common place but it most certainly is necessary in certain clinical situations regardless. I feel very strongly about failure to diagnose this disorder and if you feel that you or your child may have been subject to a late diagnosis which should you have been picked up sooner, please do not hesitate to get in contact."

If you want advice on pursuing a claim for negligence in relation to a failure to diagnose a hip problem early on in a newborn, contact our team now for a free, no obligation consultation.