04 September 2018
Cancer Patient Wins Six-Figure Payout After Flesh-Eating Bug Ate Penis
A cancer patient whose body was ravaged by a flesh-eating bug that destroyed most of his penis has won a six-figure payout.
Andrew Lane, 63, went into Southend Hospital for an operation to remove his prostate, but contracted the deadly infection, known as necrotising fasciitis, after his bowel was punctured during surgery.
It was six days before the mistake was realised and he was rushed to theatre to remove the contaminated skin, but the damage was so severe that he was left with just an inch-and-a-half of his penis and the tissue covering his stomach also had to be taken away.
He can no longer have sex, is incontinent, in constant pain and says he can no longer bear to look at himself in the mirror.
Mr Lane, of Thurrock, Essex, who has been treated for depression since the botched operation, said: “My wife Sue and I have been together for 18 years and enjoyed a healthy sex life, but since this happened that has been impossible. The desire is still there, but the little that’s left just doesn’t function anymore.
“It’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with for both of us. I know Sue still loves me, but I do feel less of a man.
“Because I have no muscle tissue my intestines just hang out and I look like I’m nine months pregnant. I’m at greater risk of hernias and I have two so I’m in constant pain. I used to be sporty and proud of my body, but now I can’t bear to look in the mirror.
“Social occasions are rare now because I don’t like meeting new people. It’s sad as I always thought we’d travel when we retired, but that’s out of the question now.”
Mr Lane and his wife, who both work as carers, showed the strength of their relationship when they decided to tie the knot soon after the catastrophic operation in March 2013.
Following a five-year legal battle, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted a delay in diagnosing the injury to Mr Lane’s bowel. Had they done so sooner by arranging the necessary CT scan, the Trust conceded the injury would have been repaired and he would not have caught the bug. The case settled recently for an undisclosed, six-figure sum.
Mr Lane added: “They’ve admitted their mistake, but I’ve not had an apology and knowing that just a scan a few days earlier would have prevented all of this is very difficult to accept.
“I’ve been compensated, but I’ll never get my health back and I just want other people to be aware of how dangerous this flesh-eating bug is.
“If you don’t feel you are getting the right treatment, you have got to speak out.”
His lawyer Tom Spearpoint, a clinical negligence specialist at Slater and Gordon, said: “Mr Lane has shown incredible strength and selflessness in speaking out to raise awareness of this rare but serious bacterial infection, which left untreated can be life-threatening.
“The impact has been devastating, both physically and emotionally, but the Trust’s admissions have at least given him some closure and the means to get the care and support that he needs to move on with his life.”
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