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Payout for mum who suffered dislocated jaw

Payout for mum who suffered dislocated jaw

Published at 1:32pm 31st August 2016. (Updated at 2:20pm 31st August 2016)

A woman from Knaresborough has been awarded compensation after an operation following the loss of her twins left her with a dislocated jaw and years of agonising pain.

Amanda Walker, 48, faced several invasive procedures to correct the problem, culminating in a partial jaw replacement.

In December 2010, she had a routine surgical procedure at Harrogate District Hospital, after suffering a miscarriage where both of the babies' heartbeats had stopped.

When she woke up from the procedure, Amanda had severe pain in her jaw and struggled to open her mouth.

In January 2011, she visited her dentist and discovered that her jaw was misaligned and damage had been caused to the muscles, tendons and ligaments around it.

Amanda believes that the dislocation happened when a laryngeal mask was forcefully placed over her face before the operation.

Amanda Walker

Amanda in hospital after one of several operations

As a result of the constant pain and need for further operations, she's been unable to return to work and doctors say the titanium prosthesis inserted into her jaw to correct the problem will need to be replaced later in her life.

Amanda said: "It really is difficult to explain just how much of an impact the injury I suffered has had on my life. It was obviously an extremely traumatic time for me when I underwent the original procedure and I trusted staff at the hospital to care for me, but instead I was treated in such a way by the anaesthetist that I suffered a dislocated jaw.

"The pain I suffered in my jaw lasted for five years, it has completely changed my life. It changed my diet, left me relying on my family more than ever and the most difficult thing was the struggle I had to care for my son, because at times the pain was so debilitating.

"I have had to undergo a number of procedures over the years to try and correct the problem, which included major surgery when I had a partial jaw replacement in May 2015. All of these procedures have taken time to recover from and added further pain and suffering to my life, particularly the partial jaw replacement surgery.

"Thankfully the pain has now largely resolved and I am well on the road to recovery, but it is difficult to come to terms with the fact the operations may not be over, as I know I will need at least one further jaw replacement operation in the future, which is extremely concerning as I'll have to go through everything again.

"I'm glad the Trust has finally accepted responsibility for what happened to me and importantly have made a formal apology in writing. I hope that by me speaking out about what I went through the Trust will improve the way it deals with situations like mine, so when mistakes are made, people in my position don't have to wait years and years for answers."

Amanda Walker

Amanda was given a partial jaw replacement

Amanda instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the injuries she suffered and the care provided by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

They have now secured a six-figure settlement after a full admission of liability from the Trust.

Lawyer Ross McWilliams said: "We are glad that the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has finally admitted liability for the injuries Amanda suffered and agreed a settlement with her.

"However, the Trust denied responsibility for what happened to her for four years, which caused a great deal of distress and prolonged the litigation unnecessarily for someone who has been desperate to put this terrible ordeal behind her and begin to get her life back on track."

In response to the case, Dr David Scullion, Medical Director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The Trust is pleased that an agreement has been reached. We have apologised to Ms Walker for the impact this injury has had on her, and I would like to reiterate that apology now.

"We conducted an investigation into Ms Walker's care with us in 2010 and want to give assurance that we have learned all we can from this incident."