Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a severe obstruction of the arteries which reduces blood flow to the extremities, such as hands and feet. Most often, it has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores.

Matthew Brown recently acted on behalf of the widower of a 63-year-old woman who suffered post-amputation complications that led to her death after her GP failed to suspect or to diagnose a critically ischaemic right foot.

The lady first saw her GP in March 2015 with a cramping pain in her calves when she walked which had been happening for three weeks.

After nine follow-ups with her GP and nurse, in July a consultant vascular surgeon finally diagnosed her with severe obstruction in the arteries of her right foot after finding no distal pulse in either leg. At this stage, her toes were already gangrenous. The consultant noted that there appeared to have been a significant delay in the deceased being seen as a result of a routine ‘Choose and Book’ appointment having been made.

She underwent a bypass operation in her leg to attempt to improve circulation. However, after being discharged, she developed a chronic ulcer of her right foot and the thigh wound from the bypass had not yet healed.

In October, her leg was amputated above the knee and she required a rapid blood transfusion. She died three weeks later, aged 63, of post-operative complications including acute respiratory distress syndrome and a heart attack.

Her widower appointed Medical Solicitors to begin legal proceedings against the GP who admitted breach of duty. However, it was not admitted that any actionable delay materially affected the management of the deceased and her outcome.

Although a resolution could not be found at a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM) in October 2020, the parties were able to negotiate an agreed settlement of £165,000 a couple of months after. This included statutory bereavement award of £12,980 and past and future loss of financial and services dependency of over £100,000

Matthew Brown said: “Had the claimant proceeded to trial then he may well have recovered a higher level of compensation. The settlement reflected a reduction in figures during settlement negotiations to take account of the risks of going to trial and the preference for a quicker settlement.”

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Case settled by

Matthew Brown

Director and Senior Chartered Legal Executive

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