Dennis is one of life’s good guys. He was a Police Officer for 21 years and was twice commended for his bravery as a front line Police Officer with Nottinghamshire Police.
He was also a keep fit fanatic – teaching salsa, spin classes and karate.
He was diagnosed with a Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in December 2010 and on the 22nd December 2010 he commenced chemotherapy and was noted to be healthy and mobile.
On 24/12/2010 whilst on the ward Mr Stewart experienced what appeared to be cramp in his left lower leg whilst walking to the toilet. This episode lasted a couple of minutes then ceased.
Mr Stewart told a nurse who stated that it was cramp as it had gone away so quickly and advised that it was probably due to inactivity over the past couple of days.
The pain returned again the next day in the same leg in the same position (at the back of the lower leg) and again after a few minutes ceased. Again, Mr Stewart told a nurse. He was again told that this was likely to be cramp.
When discharged from hospital on Boxing Day evening having completed the treatment, he went to his partner’s address and noted that the pain returned again in the same position. This again only lasted a few minutes. On this occasion City hospital were not informed as Mr Stewart had been told on previous occasion that it was just cramp.
At 03:08 hrs on 28/12/10 Mr Stewart contacted City Hospital in Nottingham. He was put through to one of the oncology wards and advised that if pain persisted then he should go to the emergency ward at City Hospital known as the receiving unit. At 04:05 hrs he called City Hospital again to advise them the pain had got worse and that he would be coming to City Hospital.
His first recorded time in City hospital appears to be 04.45 hrs At 05.10 hrs he was seen by a triage nurse who took a history from him. At an untimed point after this initial assessment he was seen by a junior doctor. It was noted that he had severe (10 out of 10) pain in his left foot and had undergone recent chemotherapy. The left foot was cold to touch and Mr Stewart was unable to feel his toes.
The records note that the impression was “Ischemic left foot”.
At 08.30 hrs he was seen by a consultant on a ward round. At 08.45 hrs his case was discussed with a vascular registrar at Queen’s Medical Centre (another hospital 2 miles away). At 09.32 hrs there was an oncology review. At 10.00 hrs he was transferred to the oncology ward and was advised that he was going to be transferred to the vascular team a Queen’s Medical Centre. At 10.40 hrs he was admitted to the ward of clinical oncology and noted to have a painful left leg and foot and it was also noted he was awaiting a vascular surgery review.
At 14.00 hrs it was noted that he was still awaiting transfer to Queen’s Medical Centre. Finally at 17.00 he was transferred to Queen Medical Centre by ambulance. At 19.10 hrs a pre-operative checklist was completed by a nurse.
The operation proceeded at 22.00 hrs but by that time it was far too late to save Dennis’ leg.
A blue light ambulance was apparently called sometime in the morning of 28th December 2010 but it took an incredible 7 hours to reach Dennis and to take him the 2 miles from City Hospital to Queen’s Medical Centre.
Earlier in the case, I secured Dennis a £50,000 interim payment which he has spent on a state of the art prosthetic from Dorset Orthopaedics which he should be receiving any day now. With a bit of luck he will return to all his pre accident activities. He is a real fighter and so full of life despite all he has been through. Dennis has challenged me to a race when he gets his new leg – I don’t doubt that he will beat me!
Dennis also hopes that lessons have been learned regarding his case and that no one else will ever have to endure what he has been through.
By Clinical Negligence Solicitor James Bell.