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Leigh Day amputee client receives GBP 1 million after thrombosis missed

Our client has received over £1m after a hospital failed to diagnose her thrombosis.

Medical negligence amputation claims

22 December 2014

A London-based client known only as Mrs M has received more than £1 million after settling her medical negligence claim against the hospital which misdiagnosed a thrombosis in her leg which left her needing an above the knee amputation.

Mrs M brought the case because she was refused a ‘C leg’ prosthetic limb which would have cost the NHS £20,000.

Mrs M was represented by Olive Lewin, medical negligence partner at Leigh Day who said: “My client had to bring this claim against the NHS because she couldn’t afford a prosthetic limb which would have given her a much better quality of life. 

“She was refused the C leg, even though medical negligence had led directly to her amputation.’

Mrs M, who was 63 at the time, attended the A&E department at Hammersmith Hospital in January 2007 complaining of a sharp cramping pain in her left calf, excruciating pain and an increasingly cold and discoloured left foot.

The A&E locum noted that her left leg and foot were cold to the touch and white and blue in colour and that her pulse was absent on the left ankle. 

She was discharged with painkillers and told to see her GP in two days.

When Mrs M returned to her GP her leg was purple, and her GP sent her immediately to Charing Cross Hospital where a thrombosis was diagnosed in her left leg. 

Two attempts were made to remove the blood clot in her leg, and she underwent an arterial bypass. 

However, medical staff were unable to save her foot and Mrs M subsequently underwent a below knee amputation, followed by an above knee amputation.  

She had to stay in hospital for three months where she underwent a lengthy programme of rehabilitation. She continued to suffer from phantom pains in her amputated leg and was psychologically traumatised.

When Mrs M first met Olive Lewin at Leigh Day she explained how she had been given a number of NHS prosthetic legs to try, but that they had all been useless, and that she was falling over frequently. 

It was at this stage that Mrs M said to Olive that all she wanted to be able to do was to buy a C leg prosthetic limb, as she had tried this with much more success, but had been told that at £20,000 it was too expensive to be provided for her. 

The NHSLA made a full admission of liability and Mrs M eventually received over £1m.

With an interim payment that Olive was able to secure before the trial Mrs M arranged to try a different prosthetic, a Genium leg. The computerised knee in the prosthetic has 36 different functions and has allowed her to walk with renewed confidence, although she still needs to use a wheelchair from time to time.

After the case Leigh Day medical negligence partner Olive Lewin said:

“Mrs M will be able to use the damages she has received to adapt her home so that is it accessible for wheelchair use, and will now be confident that she will be able to buy the most advanced type of prosthetic limb that becomes available.

“It is unfortunate that the NHS chose not to help her with the cost of the original prosthetic limb that she needed, and instead fought this case from beginning to end.”

Olive instructed Chris Hough of Doughty Street Chambers.

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