A 15-year-old girl from St Austell, Cornwall, is facing the prospect of a total hip replacement after a radiographer allegedly failed to carry out a full X-ray at Treliske three years ago. Jodie Tamblin, who was 12 at the time of the X-ray, waited for two years for a correct diagnosis. The Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust has now said that it is too late for corrective surgery.
A serious incident report from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust states that the X-ray was carried out by an agency radiographer, rather than a member of staff. In the report, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust says its protocol is to take two X-rays of each hip, but on this occasion only one was carried out. According to the report, this meant the radiographer did not detect the abnormality in Jodie’s hip, which required urgent surgery.
In its report, the hospital acknowledges that “there is a risk of clinical ‘disconnect'” when bringing in agency staff who are unfamiliar with protocols. This story has emerged following reports of the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trusts’ growing expenditure on temporary staff.
Jodie, who attends Penrice Academy, has suffered from a condition in her left hip, called Perthes, since she was six years old. Perthes disease is a childhood disorder which affects the head of the femur – the ball of the ball and socket joint of the hip.
The family is now being advised by the Clinical Negligence team at South West law firm Coodes Solicitors, who are investigating the case.
Jodie’s mother, Miss Fiona James said: “Jodie has had to wait for two years to get the diagnosis that she should have had right after her X-ray. We are upset and angry that she may now have to have a full hip replacement because of such a simple mistake.
“While our priority now is to get th best care for Jodie, for the sake of other families we hope that lessons have now been learned and protocols are now being properly followed. If the correct X-ray had been carried out, Jodie could have been better by now. Instead, she has had two more years of being in pain and may be facing major surgery.”
Rachel Pearce, Partner and Clinical Negligence lawyer at Coodes Solicitors said: “Jodie’s case is a one of extreme concern. The Serious Incident Report suggests that the problem was partly the result of the X-ray being carried out by an agency radiographer. With reports that Treliske is relying increasingly on agency and locum doctors, we are naturally concerned that more issues like this will emerge.”