Our client initially visited his GP in September 2014 with pain and pins and needles in his toe. This was affecting his ability to walk, but instead of fully investigating the cause of our client’s symptoms, the GP simply attributed the symptoms to a sprained ankle. Our client’s mobility deteriorated over the coming months with the pain spreading to his ankle and shins. He visited his GP again in December 2014 with new symptoms of the area feeling cold and a change in skin pigmentation. Again, his symptoms were dismissed, and no diagnosis was made by the GP, nor any advice given to return if his symptoms persisted. By March 2015, having returned to the GP multiple times, our client’s symptoms had not improved and was unable to walk comfortably. Our client’s wife, an experienced nurse, took him to the accident and emergency department at Russell’s Hall Hospital in April where he was told he needed urgent surgery. He underwent an above knee amputation on 24 April 2015.
Errors in care
Our client instructed Shoosmiths to investigate the failings in his treatment. Allegations were made in relation to the multiple GP attendances from September 2014 to March 2015, notably, the GP’s failure to question the location and severity of the pain, whether our client was experiencing pain at rest, and disregarding a potential circulation problem. Regarding the later attendances, there was a failure to refer our client to a vascular surgeon and to highlight the urgency of the referral. It was alleged that, had such steps been taken, the eventual amputation would have been avoided.
How did Shoosmiths assist?
We initially needed to prove our client’s case which wasn’t initially easy due to the poor quality of his medical records which missed important information about his ongoing symptoms which had been reported at his repeated attendances. There was need to take extensive witness evidence from our client, his family and friends to prove his case to the legal team of the defendant GPs.
Once a liability admission was achieved, Sharon was able to secure a sizeable interim payment from the defendants while the legal case was ongoing, to kick-start our client’s rehabilitation journey before securing a seven-figure settlement sum in 2021.
Shoosmiths instructed multiple expert witnesses from disciplines such as occupational therapy and prosthetics, to advise on our client’s needs. We worked alongside a specialist rehabilitation company to assist with organising physiotherapy and purchasing recommended prosthetics to ensure our client had the greatest chance of independence.
After the amputation, the wound took a long time to heal, and our client was provided with his first prosthesis in August 2015. Unfortunately, this did not suit our client’s needs and he was experiencing pain and difficulties with the function of the prosthetic. The funds received from the interim payment meant that our client underwent a state-of-the-art prosthetics trial, recommended by our expert. During the trial, our client was able to take part in activities he would not have been able to do with his first prosthetic, such as gardening and going to watch his daughter play football. He was also able to partake in his profession more comfortably as a trained HGV driver; something he actually returned to within six months of his amputation but understandably found very challenging due to the quality of his prosthesis at the time.
Before the amputation, our client was extremely independent, so he found it difficult to go home to a house which was completely unsuited to his needs. As our client was wheelchair bound for the first four months, he was unable to access the second floor of his home. We have secured compensation which will allow our client and his family to move to single-storey accommodation to be adapted to suit his needs.
The settlement sum will allow for future physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy to assist with our client’s rehabilitation. Post-amputation, he was not able to return to the gym or enjoy his former hobbies: football, swimming and golf. Now, our client has returned to the gym and is training with a specialist disability personal trainer, which is proving to have excellent physical and psychological benefits.
Principal associate at Shoosmiths, Sharon Banga, said:
‘Our client has been the very example of someone who, with us, has fought to achieve a liability admission. With the assistance of the funds made available to him, has worked hard to turn things around for himself and his family despite his obvious set back. I am delighted we have been able to achieve a payment of compensation that will assist with his ongoing rehabilitation and future.’
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2023