A young dad who dislocated his knee was forced to have his leg amputated two weeks later, after doctors failed to spot that the injury had cut off his blood supply.
Paul Brayshaw was only told about the severity of his condition the day before and advised that without the operation he would die.
The 35-year-old said he had no idea that his leg could have been saved if doctors had acted earlier.
But following his discharge from hospital, he started to think about what had happened and decided to seek legal advice.
He said: “I kept saying ‘you can’t go into hospital with a dislocated knee and come out with one leg.’
“It was completely out of the blue. I’d hurt my knee and obviously knew it was more than just bruised, but I never expected that.
“They said if they didn’t have my leg amputated I would die of blood poisoning. That was my choice.
“I just wanted to get someone else’s opinion on it because something just didn’t seem right.”
Paul, who quit teaching to follow his dream of opening a restaurant in his home town of Saltdean, near Brighton, was closing up one evening in August 2012 when his nightmare began.
Hearing burglars trying to break in the front, he escaped on foot, but fell further up the road and dislocated his left knee and was taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
Paul, who has two young sons, spent six weeks in hospital and sought legal action soon after his discharge.
But it was only recently that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust finally admitted that there had been an ‘unacceptable delay’ in the ‘urgent’ action needed to restore the blood flow to his leg.
Paul, who now lives in Hove, said: “It was so serious that it needed to be done there and then, but instead there was a delay which ultimately cost me my leg.
“I’ve paid a high price. I’ll never get back what they’ve taken from me and it’s been really hard.
“I’ve got a prosthetic now, but it’s so uncomfortable and painful on my leg.
“It changes your life completely. I have always worked and was always a very sociable person, but since this has happened, I am only out of the flat for a couple of hours a day.
“The restaurant is just too much for me now so I was forced to sell.
“You lead a very solitary life when you’re in that much pain. All I want to do is get home and take my leg off and do nothing, it hurts that much.
“You’re in a vicious cycle. I put on about 8st during the first year I came out of hospital, just from lack of mobility and all the medication I was on.”
At his heaviest Paul weighed almost 18st, but he has now lost around half his body weight thanks to a healthier lifestyle.
He said: “I feel like what happened to me ruined my body and I want what’s left to be as good as it can be. I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and like what I see.
“Since all this happened, I’ve had a lot of time to think. At one point I was very angry, but you can be as angry and bitter as you want and it’s not going to change what’s happened.
“I’ve just got to get on with things.”
His lawyer Charlotte Moore, a clinical negligence specialist from Slater and Gordon, said: “Paul Brayshaw was a healthy young man whose life has been devastated as a result of this unacceptable and completely avoidable delay.
“What he has been through is unimaginable and that’s why it is imperative that lessons are learned so what has happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.”