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Hospital delay leads to amputation

Sandra was admitted to hospital on a bank holiday weekend after suffering with a ‘pins and needles’ feeling in her left foot, causing severe pain in her foot and calf. Her toes also started to turn blue. The hospital suspected that she was suffering from deep vein thrombosis (a type of blood clot,) but unfortunately, the diagnosis was incorrect.

Thinking it was a clot, the hospital failed to treat what was actually wrong with Sandra. Her correct diagnosis was arterial ischaemia; a very serious condition in which there is inadequate blood flow and oxygen to a specific part of the body. In Sandra’s case it was her leg, and since the hospital failed to diagnose and classify it as a clinical emergency, and they did not begin proper investigations until after the Bank Holiday weekend but by then it was too late…

Sandra was transferred to another hospital where she underwent vascular surgery but due to the first hospital’s delay in diagnosing and treating her condition her left leg could not be saved and was amputated below the knee.

During her recovery Sandra contacted us about starting a clinical negligence claim. It was the her case that the hospital delayed commencing proper investigations until after the bank holiday weekend and that even when the surgery eventually took place the operation itself was carried out negligently. She strongly felt that if they had diagnosed her from the onset, they may not have had to amputate her leg.

The Hospital’s case was that they denied there had been a meaningful delay and that the operation was not negligent. They said that even if there had been a delay and the operation was negligent, it made no difference at all as the amputation was inevitable.

Medical evidence from several experts was obtained to assist Sandra’s claim. That evidence was used to move the case forward and pursue the claim against the hospital for clinical negligence. After negotiation we were able to agree a settlement of £460,000.00 for Sandra to compensate for her suffering but mostly importantly help her lead as normal a life as possible in the future.

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