24 July 2004
A Regimental Sergeant Major with a long and promising career ahead of him, had to have a below-the-knee amputation
, age 34, because of a misdiagnosis by army doctors.
The Sergeant Major was suffering from exercise-associated pain in his right and foot and calf when he consulted his army doctors. It was thought that the problem was due to flat feet or a vascular problem associated with smoking. The problems got much worse and the circulation in the foot became so poor that, eventually, an amputation
was carried out.
The reason behind the circulation problems had been completely misdiagnosed. The cause of the symptoms was not flat feet or smoking but that an artery behind his right knee had become trapped behind a muscle (popliteal artery entrapment syndrome
). This condition is rare in the general population but more common amongst soldiers because of their well-developed muscles.
Corrective surgery could have saved his leg
The Sergeant Major sought legal advice from Leigh Day & Co. He was represented by Henry Dyson
, partner in the Clinical Negligence department. The argument was that if a MRI scan had been done, the trapped artery
would have been spotted, the problem could have been corrected surgically and the leg would have been saved.
The loss of a leg stopped our client’s otherwise excellent career progress in the Army
. The evidence showed that it was likely he would have become an officer and stayed in the army until retirement.
Experts in rehabilitation, prosthetics and employment were consulted and the MoD
agreed to pay damages at a settlement meeting before the case went to court.
Shortly after his case finished our client left the UK to start a new life in New Zealand.
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