Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Needless leg amputation leads to £700,000 claim against Dudley Hospitals Trust

Dudley man has been awarded compensation of £700,000 after a hospital's failure to diagnose 'compartment syndrome', which led to amputation of his right leg above his knee.

In September 2008 the man, who at 58 had a walking disablement, was referred to the Department of Vascular Surgery at Russell's Hall Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an occlusive disease of his abdominal left iliac artery.

An angiogram revealed an occlusion and severe disease of the internal iliac artery. Told he needed a crossover graft, he was admitted to the hospital for the procedure on 29 December 2008.

During surgery, an initial graft failed and a 2nd was successfully redone, after which a crossover graft was taken from the right common femoral to the left common femoral artery.

At the end of the 6.5hr procedure, surgeons noted that the patient could not feel or move his right leg, which was pale and cold with no pulse.

The same findings were noted just over 3 hours later and an anti-coagulant was administered, but with no further surgical intervention that evening.

At 5.45 next morning, a surgeon noted that the patient's right foot was pale, pulseless and painful, with reduced sensation and a painful swelling in the right thigh. Shortly afterwards the patient was seen by a surgical specialist registrar, who suspected 'compartment syndrome': a serious condition involving increased pressure in a muscle compartment which can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with bloodflow.

Accordingly at 9am he was returned to theatre for fasciotomy and exploration of the graft. A bypass was taken from the aorta to both common femoral arteries and a 4-compartment fasciotomy of the right lower leg was performed.

Despite these and other procedures over the course of the next 4 months, the patient showed little sign of improvement. Consequently on 28 April 2009 the decision was taken to amputate the patient's right leg above his knee, with the procedure done on 6 May.

Because of the prolonged, painful and distressing treatment which had caused him to lose a leg, the patient instructed Simpson Millar to pursue a claim of negligence on the part of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.

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