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Man Awarded £270,000 Compensation after Avoidable Leg Amputation

02 March 2015

Clinical Negligence Solicitor Paul Sankey secured £270,000 for his client who could have had his below the knee amputation avoided if the severity of his condition was realised in time.

Paul’s client, a 61 year old man who suffered from diabetes developed a foot ulcer in March 2009. He was seen on two occasions by nurses at his GP's surgery. Both nurses didn’t comply with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guidelines by arranging his urgent referral to a diabetic foot clinic and the condition of his ulcer worsened and became infected.

On a third occasion a podiatrist faxed a referral to the diabetic foot clinic but the referral was not treated as urgent and there was a delay of two weeks before Paul’s client was offered an appointment. As a result, his foot became severely infected and acutely painful.

Paul’s client attended the Accident and Emergency Department of his local hospital but by then it was too late to avoid a below-knee amputation.

Paul obtained evidence from experts in General Practice, podiatry and nursing on breach of duty and from experts in Vascular Surgery and Diabetology as to what difference the breaches of duty made. The evidence showed that if there had been earlier referral by the nurses or an urgent appointment made, Paul’s client’s amputation would have been avoided.

Letters of claim were written both to the surgery and the Trust responsible for the hospital. Both denied any breach of duty and also claimed that amputation was inevitable from an early stage.

Paul obtained further evidence from experts in care, housing and prosthetics as to the costs arising from the amputation. Proceedings were issued and the claim was defended.

Witness statements and expert reports were exchanged and the experts met to clarify the matters in dispute. The claim was resolved by negotiation 10 weeks before trial, the Defendants jointly paying damages of £270,000 to Paul’s client.

Paul Sankey is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

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