Medical Claim for Amputation

Medical Claim for Amputation

Read our advice about amputation claims

Our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors have the expertise to help you succeed in a medical negligence claim for compensation for amputation.

Compensation can be claimed where there has been inappropriate advice given concerning treatment options and the risks and benefits of the various options, where there have been excessive delays in providing you with treatment, or where there has been substandard care that amounts to actual Medical Negligence. 

Do contact our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors. We conduct most of our Clinical and Medical Negligence claims under ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. So, you do not have to worry about how you are going to afford to bring a compensation claim for amputation. You have nothing to lose in speaking to us.

Amputation generally affects the legs, arms, fingers, feet, or toes. Lifestyle changes are often needed to adapt to reduced mobility or hand function. It takes time to adjust, both physically and emotionally.

Patients can suffer financial losses, such as loss of earnings because of time off work. It is often not easy to meet bills for adaptations at home and to pay for specialist equipment. You may need extra help and support at home, as well as private rehabilitation and medical expenses.

Artificial limbs and equipment, provided by the NHS or social services are not always adequate. This can apply particularly for children and patients who previously led a very active life. If you are wealthy, then you will be able to purchase private prosthetics, but this is beyond the reach of most people. Private prosthetics offers more sophisticated artificial limbs with various options for different activities. Such options can help a patient to continue their previous hobbies and work activities.

Claims can be brought in clinical negligence if amputation has occurred because of mistakes, such as the following:

  • a mistake by a surgeon when carrying out an operation.
  • a failure of a doctor to recognise that there is reduced blood supply to a patient’s limb.
  • failure to refer a patient for surgery in time to avoid amputation.
  • poor diabetic care, such as where a patient’s toe, or foot, ulcer has not been treated adequately by a GP or nurse. This can lead to gangrene.

The following is a report on just one of the successful amputation compensation claims Medical Solicitors has handled.

£150,000 to John Barton an 88-year-old man, who suffered an above-knee amputation. His GP paid him a home visit for sudden onset of pain behind the knee. However, his GP failed to refer him to hospital. Our specialist medical solicitor, Caroline Moore, represented John.

John Barton, a 2nd World War veteran and widower, was just short of his 89th birthday when his case settled. This was at the door of London County Court on the first day of Trial. Until his injury, he lived with his grown-up son in the house that had been the family home since 1954. John had been in good health, a non-smoker and teetotaller. He was able to walk 1-2 miles to do the shopping in fine weather. He was very resilient and did his own gardening and domestic tasks for both himself and his son.

On 22nd December 2004, John had finished watching telly and was getting up to go to bed when he felt a sudden, severe pain in his right leg. The Defendant, John’s GP, was called the next morning and paid a home visit at around 2:30 pm. He examined John’s foot/leg while John lay in bed and diagnosed John with sciatica. He prescribed pain-killing and anti-inflammatory tablets.

John remained at home, in pain and in bed, using a broom as a crutch to get to and from the toilet. However on 26th December, he fell on the way to the bathroom. His son called for an ambulance and John was admitted to East Surrey Hospital. At the hospital, it was recognised that the circulation in his leg was severely compromised. He was transferred to St George’s Hospital where, on 28th December 2004, surgery failed to save John’s leg, leading to an above knee amputation.

The case was based on the fact that John had suffered an embolism (clot) in the right leg, causing a restriction of blood flow to his lower limb. John’s GP provided substandard care as he failed to reach a correct diagnosis and failed to refer John urgently to hospital, at which time the leg would have been saved.

There was a factual dispute about what the GP should have found upon examination of John’s foot. Some solicitors won’t progress cases that are based on the doctor’s word against that of the patient; indeed, John’s first solicitor rejected his case, after obtaining an independent GP report. Thankfully, he did not give up and found his way to our Director, Caroline Moore, who asked John Scurr, an eminent vascular surgeon, to comment on what the condition of the foot would probably have been 4 days before amputation because of the pulse and the temperature. This crucial, evidential step made it clear that it was John’s account of how his foot appeared and felt when the GP examined him that should be preferred over that of the GP’s  notes.

Both side’s G.P. experts agreed that in the event that John’s story was preferred, then the Defendant was negligent; and if the Defendant’s version was preferred, then there was no negligence. It was most likely, in this case, that the GP simply got it wrong. He believed that he could feel a pulse in the foot, but actually, this was his own pulse, not that of the patient! The GP should have referred John urgently to hospital. 

The case on liability was settled a few months prior to Trial, so it was just the value of John’s claim that was to be decided by a Judge. John, the ex-war veteran was ‘taking no prisoners’ on this issue. He was typically stoic to the end—a dream client! It’s not many elderly amputees that get back on their feet, but John did and was able to walk short distances with a prosthetic leg. However, since the amputation, John was unable to go back to his beloved 2 storey home. From July 2005, he lived in a small ground floor flat in a sheltered accommodation unit. His life had been dramatically altered. He had lost his independent life-style and e his precious belongings, as the small flat could not accommodate such things as his type-writer and extensive book collection. He was an avid history reader.

Gerwyn Samuel, a highly experienced barrister in the field of amputation (as well as spinal/brain injury) claims, of Doughty Street Chambers dealt with the case. Another barrister Chris Hough stepped in for Trial as Gerwyn had to deal with an Inquest in another (death) case. Compensation claimed was for the loss of John’s leg, past costs of rehousing him,  future care and future accommodation costs, with the intention of getting John moved to a private single storey apartment, with a carer,  and so he could be reunited with his beloved book collection and looked after for his remaining life expectancy.

An offer of £80,000 was later increased to £150,000. This was after an additional statement from John had been served to explain in more detail his position on moving to new accommodation. The settlement was reached at the door of the court when the Claimant decided to accept the offer of £150,000 plus costs.

Upon approving the settlement the Trial Judge, in the London County Court, did the following:

  • He ordered a large interim costs payment while rejecting the Defendant’s argument that costs equivalent to the value of the claim were disproportionate;
  • He commented that 100% success fees would be appropriate in a complex case such as this that progressed to the door of the Court.

Follow our links below to quickly access our information pages about how we can help with a complaint about care, Inquests, funding a medical negligence claim for amputation and more:

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