7 March 2012
Leading clinical negligence
lawyer Alison Millar has recently settled a claim for a young woman where it was alleged that negligent medical treatment had led to the above knee amputation
of her left leg. Alison’s client, X, was 21 when she attended a walk-in clinic suffering from the symptoms of a sepsis syndrome - an adverse response to infection that includes high fever, a rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure. Sepsis syndrome is associated with compromised circulation. She was discharged from the clinic having been diagnosed with a throat infection and was prescribed antibiotics.
Her condition deteriorated rapidly and the next day her sister took X to Northwick Park Hospital where it was immediately recognised that she was seriously ill. She was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome. Her resuscitation involved attempts being made to insert a cannula into her left femoral artery. Multiple punctures in a patient with low blood pressure can result in the artery clotting off, which is what happened to X. Despite attempts to remove the clot in the artery our client’s leg became ischaemic, that is it did not receive sufficient blood supply, and sadly X had to undergo a transfemoral amputation of her left leg.
X instructed Alison to bring a clinical negligence
claim against the GP based in the walk-in clinic that she originally attended and where her condition was misdiagnosed, leading to a delay in hospital treatment which led to the catastrophic outcome of above-knee amputation. In particular X claimed that the GP’s assessment should have included measurements of her blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, and a fuller clinical examination. There was a factual conflict as to X’s condition at the time she attended the walk in centre and liability was contested by the GP, who maintained that his examination, diagnosis and treatment of X was reasonable on the basis of the symptoms X presented with at the time.
X has been determined to get back to work and resume as normal a lifestyle as possible despite her injury, but her recovery has been long and arduous. Her family have had to adapt their home for X, and she will have additional expenses relating to the purchase of prosthetic limbs that she would not otherwise have had. She has experienced a great amount of pain, including phantom limb pain, and has had to curtail many of the activities she previously enjoyed.
The GP in this case continued to deny liability, but our client has now received £1.2m in compensation.
“I am delighted for my client that she will be able to use the damages awarded by the court to pay for her prosthetic needs, and to make life easier for her following her amputation.”
Our client added:
''Alison and the team at Leigh Day & Co have been very supportive and sympathetic throughout this whole process. It's been a trying time for myself and my family. Since becoming an amputee I've been working towards getting back to a normal lifestyle with the least amount of pain, so it's comforting to know I can now use this compensation for future prosthetic needs which will help achieve that. I am truly grateful to everyone at Leigh Day & Co for all their efforts.''
If you would like to speak to a member of the team about a possible clinical negligence claim please phone on 020 7650 1200
for a free initial consultation.
Leigh Day and amputation claims
Our specialist team of amputation
lawyers has extensive experience acting for amputees and a deep understanding of what needs to be done to maximise our clients' rehabilitation and damages awards. We have secured significant amounts of compensation for clients who have been affected by amputation after being injured:
- in car crashes
- in accidents at work
- as a result of clinical or medical negligence
Serious injury specialist law firm Leigh Day is recognised as one of the country's best firms of solicitors able to represent clients with complex and serious injury claims. Four of our personal injury
solicitors, including three partners, are members of the Law Society's personal injury panel, and four of our clinical negligence
partners are recognised for their expertise by the Law Society’s clinical negligence panel. Our work with the Limbless Association, the Douglas Bader Foundation and membership of the Associate Parliamentary Limb Loss Group, has enabled us to develop a keen understanding of the issues surrounding traumatic amputees.
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