A 6-year-old Girl Received an £800,000 Amputation Negligence Claim for the Arm Injuries That She Was Born With but Which Were Not Acted Upon, Leading to Amputation of the Lower Arm When She Was 7 Days Old

Information about C's amputation case

When the claimant (C) was born, her left arm was floppy, red, swollen, bruised, swollen and cold with an absent radial pulse. This was as a result of the umbilical cord having wrapped around her arm during the hours leading up to delivery. Her left wrist and hand were swollen with blue fingers. Compartment syndrome was only suspected at 4 days old, but even then was still not diagnosed.  

C’s claim was that the Hospital Trust (D) negligently failed to investigate issues with blood flow in the arteries, relied upon incomplete Doppler scan, failed to act upon obvious signs of compromised blood flow, limb swelling and compression of the arm, and failed to involve the fields of plastic surgery and neonatology. Had these specialisms been involved then they would have recognised that urgent decompression surgery was required. If there had been urgent surgery, it would have been possible to save the arm, hand and fingers. 

D made some admissions in relation to negligent delay in undertaking certain investigations and failing to seek expert review with a paediatric plastic surgeon. D admitted that earlier surgery could have taken place but did not admit that this made any difference to the eventual outcome i.e. amputation. It was accepted by C that even with earlier surgery, her left arm would have been shorter than her right arm and less powerful than the right arm but she would have been able to hold light objects. 

C was left relying upon a prosthetic arm supplied by the NHS which was uncomfortable, she had been bullied at school and needed psychological support. Although she could manage most day-to-day tasks, it took longer than it should have done. Claims were therefore made for provision for her in the field of care, as well as occupational therapy and for her to have specialist aids and equipment. It was expected that C would need further surgery as she developed towards adulthood and also that she would have difficulties in relation to childcare when she had a family of her own that needed to be provided for. 

Within the £800,000 compensation, the sum of £57,000 was for pain, injury and suffering (general damages), past financial losses was about £26,000 and future financial losses accounted for the balance of the award. A large part of this was £250,000 for future prosthetic costs, as well as £293,150 for future care costs. 

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