Amputation Claims & Limb Loss Compensation

Amputation Claims & Limb Loss Compensation

complications of amputation

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

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 an amputation compensation claim. You have nothing to lose in speaking to us. We love to help our clients.

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 amputation compensation for 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. However, such things are very costly and beyond the reach of most people. Private prosthetics offer more sophisticated artificial limbs with various options for different activities. Such options can help a patient to continue their previous hobbies and work activities.

Amputation claims for compensation can be brought in clinical negligence if amputation has occurred because of mistakes. Errors in care could include 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. This can happen when a toe, or foot, ulcer has not been treated adequately by a GP or nurse. This can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Value of amputation claims

Compensation for amputation can run into millions, where a Claimant’ suffers from a large loss of earnings. This is more common for younger claimants who have complex care and prosthetic needs for the rest of their life. However, we fight for older patients, not just the young and achieved a high award for a geriatrician, bearing in mind his statistical life expectancy was limited.

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

£150,000 for John Barton an 88-year-old man, 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 the 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.  This exceptional gentleman did his own gardening and domestic tasks for both himself and his son.

On 22nd December 2004, John had finished watching TV 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. The GP made a home visit at around 2:30 pm. He examined the affected foot/leg while John lay in bed and diagnosed sciatica. The doctor 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.

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. On 28th December 2004, surgery failed to save John’s leg, leading to an above knee amputation.

The Claim

The claim 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. He should have referred 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.  John’s first solicitor rejected his case, after obtaining an independent GP report that commented it was his word against the GPs. Thankfully, he did not give up and found his way to our Director, Caroline Moore. She asked John Scurr, an eminent vascular surgeon, to comment on what the condition of the foot would probably have been 4 days before amputation. This crucial, evidential step made it clear that it was John’s description of how his foot appeared and felt when the GP examined him that should be preferred over that of the GP’s notes.

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 the hospital. 

Value of the claim

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 lifestyle and his precious belongings, as the small flat could not accommodate these. Precious items included 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 claims (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  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-story 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 was made and was rejected. The offer was later more than doubled. 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 a six-figure sum plus costs.

At Trial

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:

Contact our Amputation Medical & Clinical Negligence Claims Solicitors

We provide urgent legal advice and support for patients anywhere in England & Wales. We have doctors and barristers located all over the UK, who provide us with meeting facilities, in London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle and beyond. Our team will travel to see clients. We think it best to see our clients in the comfort of their own home over a cup of tea. You are not a number to us. Call or email our friendly team free of charge for specialist legal advice on a no win no fee basis today.

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