Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Bad Treatment Costing the Vulnerable an Arm and a Leg?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 15/05/2014

People with diabetes are having their limbs unnecessarily amputated due to the difference in treatment across the NHS. A shocking distinction is being seen across the board, with amputations in the south west in adults for diabetes being twice as high as those in London.

Loss of Blood Supply Leading to More Amputees

Calls are being made for treatment for conditions such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and "diabetic foot" to become more consistent. It has also been recognised that where appropriate multi-disciplinary teams are needed for the above conditions to reduce the number of patients losing limbs.

Peripheral arterial disease or PAD occurs when the blood supply in the arteries is restricted by fatty deposits . This causes the supply to the leg muscles to decrease. When the blood flow is restricted to a particular area, that area then becomes starved of blood.

Diabetes UK have called the disparities in treatment "unacceptable".

Although existing guidance is available through NICE, it is often not followed, potentially leading to unnecessary amputations. The guidance that is being ignored gives details on assessing people who already have the disease, those who are susceptible to it, and how to manage the condition of the patient is diagnosed.

PAD in particular is a problem that needs to be tackled, especially because it is strongly associated with old age. Estimates suggest that of people over the age of 70, 19% are affected by PAD. People are living longer and healthcare services need to accommodate this, so that we are not left with a generation vulnerable to disease.

Infections Can Lead to Amputations

Another instance in which amputations happen, and one that is more familiar to people is when infection occurs. If wounds are not treated properly, they are prone to infection. If left too long, the infection could potentially lead to amputations.

MRSA, necrotising fasciitis (a flesh-eating disease) and gangrene are all bacteria that could enter an open, untreated wound and cause infection .

Wound care is essential after surgery. Often, bacteria can get inside an open wound and slow down recovery. Failure to treat a wound adequately can result in serious pain and suffering to the patient, not just physically but emotionally.

Usually, the care you receive from the NHS is up to standard and many leave their hospital more than happy with the service they received. However, this is not guaranteed. It is for this reason that people who feel they have had a bad experience should contact a solicitor to discuss details about their experience and the steps they can take to recover compensation for their loss.

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