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GP negligence results in £1.1 million pay-out

Client had to undergo a double leg amputation after contracting an infectious disease

Double amputee in wheelchair

30 October 2013

Russell Levy, partner and head of our clinical negligence department, has secured £1.1m  in compensation for a client who underwent amputation of both his legs below the knee having contracted an infectious disease which overwhelmed his system.

The client was immune compromised having had his spleen removed in 1974.  The client was unaware of the mortality and morbidity risk of having no spleen. None of the physicians who treated him over the years addressed published guidelines which clearly recommend immunisation and lifelong prophylactic antibiotic cover for all people who have undergone splenectomy. The guidance states that they should be advised about the need to seek immediate medical attention at the first signs of a fever. Our client was never told this.

In 2008, our client was taken ill suddenly with symptoms of a fever and vomiting.  The infection rapidly overwhelmed him and he suffered total system failure, including two heart attacks. His vascular system collapsed and as a result the tissue on his feet and legs began to die.  After a five day attempt to save his legs, the doctors told him that to save his life they would need to amputate both of his legs.  Fortunately, due to their efforts to limit the damage the doctors were able to amputate below the knee rather than above the knee as first planned.  As a result of the dual amputation our client’s life has changed dramatically. Previously active he obviously now has limited mobility.  He also suffers from phantom limb pain and exhaustion and requires assistance with his do day-to-day activities.

The client’s General Practitioner admitted that the infection would probably have been prevented if our client had been given better advice and treatment. Thankfully the stress of a trial was avoided and a settlement as to the appropriate level of damages needed to compensate the client and to meet his on-going needs was agreed.

Compensation for those who have suffered as a consequence of medical negligence is not a windfall but an essential right. The £1.1m will provide vital care, support and equipment for our client. The money will enable him to obtain appropriate prosthetics so that he can continue to be independent for as long as possible and to engage in the outdoor activities he enjoys, and will go some way to cover the additional costs he faces because of his disability.

Russell Levy says:

“My client suffered the most horrific, traumatic infection and injuries and will never be able to compensate for the loss of his legs. I am pleased that his Court case was settled quickly, with an admission of liability, a full apology and a sum of damages that will, at least, make his life more comfortable.”

To speak to a member of Leigh Day’s clinical negligence claim team please contact us on 020 7650 1200 and someone will return your call, or if you prefer you can email us.

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