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Woman left with longer leg after failed hip op

The Local · 11 Aug 2010, 11:15

Published: 11 Aug 2010 11:15 GMT+02:00

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"I have never received any information from the surgeon/orthopaedic clinic that the operation had been unsuccessful," the woman wrote in her report to Health and Medical Treatment Disciplinary Board (Hälso- och sjukvårdens ansvarsnämnd, HSAN).

Despite mentioning when leaving the clinic in Örnsköldsvik in northern Sweden that one of her legs felt longer than the other, the then 76-year-old woman was left to find out for herself after experiencing problems walking.

"A physiotherapist grabbed a tape measure and measured my legs. He concluded that my operated leg was 'much longer' and referred me to the orthopaedic department."

It was only then that the woman was provided with the information that her hip operation had been unsuccessful.

Story continues below…

When the woman's legs were measured properly it was concluded that her operated leg was in fact 2.5 centimetres longer than the other and the disparity was the cause of her discomfort.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:07 August 11, 2010 by Audrian
The insurance should pay for corrective treatment by a specialist in Stockholm!
13:59 August 11, 2010 by Rick Methven
I lost 3mm in my left leg after I broke my hip. seems like i was lucky
15:20 August 11, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
She should sue the doctor for malpractice....Immean, sue the government....oh wait.....yeah
16:26 August 11, 2010 by John_berg
What a great medical system Sweden has !!! when will swedes understand that they pay tax thru out their life and be the slaves of this useless system ..
17:03 August 11, 2010 by Youdee
I blame it on faulty processes and procedures. Early this year, I wrote to the CEOs of Danderyd and Ersta because their processes leave a lot to be desired. My physician at D admitted it, and I received a letter of apology from the medical director at E, but I wonder if anything has changed? I don't want to go through the "process" again to find out.
18:06 August 11, 2010 by NiceGirl26
The photo for this article is of a street in Washington DC. You can see it says Kalorama St.. haha
22:45 August 11, 2010 by Trebla
Before you all rail against the Surgeon and the system, consider some alternative views;

1) leg length measurements are notorious for inconsistency when done with a tape measure. Standing blocks & x-ray are the only reliable mechanism.

2) She may have been short before the operation.

3) It was not stated if this was an injury- sometimes the hip is so badly fractured that a shortened position is more stable, allowing the patient to get up sooner.

4) a 1 cm difference is very common in the general population- and well tolerated.

5) rather than an operation, this is easily treated with a small shoe lift.

Let's get the whole story first- then we can fry the orthopedist.
09:54 August 12, 2010 by LuckotheeIrish1
I agree with some of the things Trebla said. As an American now living in Sweden I'd like to add, that mistakes happen EVERYWHERE! I was misdiagnosed at a hospital in the US twice in 3 weeks. Told I had pneumonia, only to be told by my local physician that was incorrect and letter found I had a heart problem (BTW: I went into the ER with HEART PROBLEMS).

Also, there have been plenty of stories in America where doctors have amputated or operated on the wrong limb. Crap happens. Part of life. It's not ideal, but you'll never find a perfect flawless system.

While I admit the system in Sweden isn't perfect, at least I get medical care!
17:53 August 13, 2010 by tadchem
The good news is that mismatched leg length can be corrected. For a 76-year-old woman this would mean shortening the femur of the longer leg. Younger people (
01:40 August 14, 2010 by drLahr0131
Chiropractic Physicians routinely fix such problems as one leg being longer than the other. The patients pelvis can be out of proper anatomical alignment or there can be a subluxation in the patient's spine causing a problem with the inhibitory or facilatory reflexes hence a short leg syndrome as the patient's nervous system is trying to allow the person to walk upright. Correcting the subluxation and removing pressure from the affected nerve can restore the patient's health if there is indeed a subluxation causing the problem. Only Chiropractic Doctors are the only health care professionals who are educated in knowing how to find and fix such a problem.
02:50 August 17, 2010 by engagebrain
The accuracy with which the length of legs can be measured is limited, with errors of at least a few millimeters.

This does not stop chiropractors from attributing a vast range of ailments to this mostly non existent problem.

Has anyone ever been assured by a chiropractor that their legs are the same length or that they did not need a vigorous and noisy bit of bending ?
06:00 August 26, 2010 by John14541
She could change her name to Eileen.
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