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Avoidable Amputations – the right diagnosis is key

The loss of a limb can have devastating effects on both patients and their families. In some instances this outcome could have been avoided. With patients having access to online medical material the medical community are under more pressure than ever to ensure their diagnosis is the right diagnosis, but with so many factors contributing to amputation it’s not always as simple as it seems for a doctor to be correct each and every time.

Amputations from Diabetic Foot

Those with diabetes are warned of the importance of ensuring their feet are in good condition and to raise any concerns with a doctor but despite this some GPs fail to refer diabetic foot injuries quickly enough.

NICE guidelines make it clear that GPs must immediately refer any patients with limb or life threatening issues. These cases are usually referred swiftly but more minor problems are often not referred to the multi-disciplinary foot care teams in time. GPs and practice staff often try and treat minor cuts, infections and blisters locally which can lead to a missed opportunity to effectively treat the limb. Diabetic foot injuries can quickly deteriorate and quick decisions and referrals are key to avoiding amputations.

Delays in Diagnosis of Vascular Issues.

Vascular problems relate to the blood supply to an area of the body, when this is compromised the tissue in the body can quickly deteriorate and cannot be saved. Altered limb sensation and pain are common indicators of vascular problems and quick referrals should made to vascular teams for management. Again, diabetes puts patients at an increased risk as poor blood sugar levels can contribute to narrowing of the blood vessels.

Failure to manage infections

Managing more severe infections is often complex and takes extended time periods to allow the body to heal. It is essential that patients see the relevant practitioners such as microbiologists and tissue viability nurses to ensure their infection is being treated with the correct medications and dressings.  Incorrect infection diagnosis and management can lead to deeper infection in the bone. If the infection cannot be treated it often becomes a life over limb scenario to prevent the infection spreading to other parts of the body.

Pressure Sores

Pressure sores often affect those who have experienced extended bed rest such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions but everyone is at risk from one.  Pressure sores can often be avoided with appropriate management such as changes of position and good nutrition but when they do occur it is vital that the infection is treated efficiently in order to avoid further infection which could lead to amputation.

Concerned about your amputation?

Mismanaged amputations only account for a small percentage of amputations across the United Kingdom, and with appropriate rehabilitation and care patients can quickly return to their daily lives. The development of prosthetic limb technology is ever expanding and is an exciting area of technological advancement to keep an eye on but with the cost of these prosthetics ever increasing the NHS cannot always provide the best prosthetics to patients.

Here at Irvings, we have a dedicated team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors who have many years’ experience in dealing with a wide range of cases.  We understand the impact that clinical errors can have on your daily life. If you think, you have suffered an avoidable amputation you can speak with one of our clinical negligence team.

If we are able to investigate a claim on your behalf, we can do this under a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This means that if you win your claim the Defendants will pay our costs. We will be more than happy to discuss this arrangement in detail with you.

If you would like to speak with one of our dedicated clinical negligence team call us on 0151 475 1999.

Author: Alex Lee





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