Man's Inspirational Recovery From Sepsis Negligence | Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Inspirational Recovery For Former Policeman With Multiple Amputations After Negligent Sepsis Treatment

Our specialist team of medical negligence lawyers has secured an interim compensation payment for a former policeman who has undergone multiple amputations after doctors failed to treat his sepsis infection quickly enough. The payment has paid for vital rehabilitation therapy that has helped Dean become a dad for the first time.

Dean fell ill with a septicaemia blood infection in October 2010 and was soon rushed to hospital, where was placed into a medically induced coma after falling into septic shock. However, medics at the Leeds General Infirmary missed the “golden hour” to treat his sepsis and Dean’s body began shutting down its extremities to try and protect his vital organs.

Dean underwent 30 operations over two years to repair the damage that had been done. Both his legs were amputated below the knee and he had a hip replacement. His right hand, three fingers from his left hand, his right ear and parts of his nose were also removed.

Psychological problem followed as Dean, a former Northern Ireland javelin thrower, struggled to adapt. “I was active, I liked to keep fit, I had pride in how I looked, I’d met a girl I really liked and all of a sudden I had to cope with losing my legs, hand and bits of my face,” Dean said. “I’d lost my dignity and self-worth. Kirsty left her teaching job to care for me. It was a very dark period and felt as though life wasn’t worth living.”

Dean Smahon Competing for Northern Ireland

Clinical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell investigated Dean's care and secured an interim payment which allowed him to buy better prosthetics, an adapted car, rent a bungalow, purchase home gym equipment and obtain rehabilitation therapy.

Thanks to his rehabilitation, Dean and his wife Kirsty were able to have IVF treatment and Kirsty is now due to give birth in February 2017. Dean is completing a degree in Theology this year and hopes to become a voluntary priest. He also volunteers at the intensive care unit at LGI and even flew to Cambodia to help landmine victims. “I’d never imagined I would have been able to do any of the things I’ve done now. I couldn’t have done it without Kirsty. Now I’ve got my independence back, I can be the strong one for her."

“I hope that my story will help prevent others suffering the way I have.”

Dean and Kirsty Smahon


Dean’s lawyers are still pursuing his sepsis compensation claim. We are now trying to secure an award for damages so he can have the accommodation, rehabilitation, prostheses and care he requires to live as independently as possible for the rest of his life. Sarah Coles, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell involved with Dean’s case, said:

“Not diagnosing and treating Dean’s infection that led to sepsis early enough changed his life forever and although nothing can turn back the clock, the award of damages he will receive means he will be able to afford suitable and different prosthetics throughout his life and the on-going rehabilitation he will need."

“Through our close work with The UK Sepsis Trust we have seen the urgent need to promote the signs of sepsis and provide early care in the UK and hope that this awareness campaign will help save thousands of lives and improve the outlook for all of those affected.”

Dean himself has spoken out as part of Sepsis Awareness Month to help raise the profile of sepsis in the UK and has featured on the BBC, Daily Mail and more.

Dean and Kirsty with the BBC


If you or a loved one has suffered from misdiagnosed or poorly treated sepsis, our medical negligence claims team may be able to help. See our Sepsis Claims page for more information.

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