What is Congenital Hip Dysplasia?

A congenital condition is one which is present from the time of birth. In the case of Congenital Hip Dysplasia, an irregularity in the development of the hip joint in the baby means that the upper part of the thigh bone doesn't sit properly in the hip socket.  This often results in the ligaments being too loose to hold the joint in place securely. Sometimes, it is possible to tell just by looking at a baby if they have Congenital Hip Dysplasia as one leg can appear visibly longer than the other - but that isn't always the case. In some babies, it is impossible to tell by sight alone and the only certain way to diagnose the condition is with a physical examination.

How is it diagnosed?

At birth, every baby should be given a physical examination by a healthcare professional to establish whether or not they have Congenital Hip Dysplasia. It is very important that this diagnosis is made as soon as possible after the birth.  The longer the condition is left untreated, the more difficult it is to correct.  It's for this reason that follow-up checks for Congenital Hip Dysplasia are also made by health visitors.

What Happens if Congenital Hip Dysplasia is not diagnosed properly?

If a baby who has Congenital Hip Dysplasia is not diagnosed soon after birth, it is possible that the problem could go entirely undetected until the child reaches the age where they take their first steps.  Often, children with Congenital Hip Dysplasia walk with a limp or an uneven gait. By this stage, the condition could have deteriorated to the point where some of the damage cannot be corrected and the only treatment options available in some cases may involve multiple invasive surgeries.  Unfortunately, the child may never recover their full agility and may experience pain and difficulty walking throughout their lifetime. They will also be at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis - a painful condition where joint cartilage is depleted and joints become stiff and less mobile.

Making a Claim

In some cases, failure to obtain a timely diagnosis of Congenital Hip Dysplasia may be due to medical negligence on the part of the healthcare professionals responsible for your care and that of your baby.  If this is the case, you may be able to claim compensation.

The compensation award will help you to cover the cost of your child's medical treatments and any continuing treatments they might need in the future.  It is even possible to settle a claim on the understanding that you may be able to make an additional claim at a future date if a secondary condition (such as osteoarthritis) develops later on in your child's life. However, there are strict time limits imposed on compensation claims, so if you think you may be eligible to make a claim, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. To find out more about how Cute Injury can help, get in touch...

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