Mum Who Lost Leg Following 'Avoidable' Hospital Errors Receives Seven Figure Settlement

Mother Of Three Gets Life Back On Track After Her Devastating Injuries Left Her Needing A Wheelchair For Life

28.02.2014

A mum of three who underwent an avoidable leg amputation after a host of medical errors, leaving her needing a wheelchair, has spoken of her relief after specialist medical lawyers secured a seven figure settlement to help pay for rehabilitation, prosthetics and an adapted home.

Lorraine Brewin, 46, can finally focus on her future and continue to rebuild her life after her lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured the settlement from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust who admitted their failings during routine varicose vein surgery caused a preventable amputation to her left leg.

Last year, specialist medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing Lorraine secured the former factory worker from Grantham, Lincolnshire an interim payment to help her purchase a bungalow which was specially adapted to assist with her independence and use of her wheel chair.

Lorraine will now use the carefully calculated final settlement to assist with further adaptations, prosthetics and the costly care and support she will require for the rest of her life.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that inadequate care following a routine operation to remove varicose veins from Mrs Brewin’s left leg in January 2009 led to the amputation.

Lorraine expected to leave the Grantham and District Hospital a day after the initial operation but she instead started to suffer a dangerous build up of blood in her leg – called compartment syndrome.

Once doctors finally realised she was suffering from the serious problem she was transferred to Lincoln County Hospital for further surgery to alleviate the pressure in her leg. However further delays and a lack of physiotherapy meant she had to have the lower part of her left leg removed.

Zoe Brodrick, an expert medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Lorraine in her battle for justice, said: “This case truly highlights what devastating consequences can happen when mistakes are made in treatment.

“What was supposed to be a simple operation has left Lorraine relying on the use of a wheel chair and has significantly changed her life forever.

“This situation was highly avoidable and the mistakes in her care have now been admitted by the Trust allowing us to work on putting together the special settlement package to help support her rehabilitation and recovery.

“But compensation is only part of the story and it is important to remember that nothing can turn back the clock completely and Lorraine would rather not need a settlement at all.

“For the past four years Lorraine has been extremely brave and determined to get her life back on track. We hope that the Trust shows the same level of determination to make sure lessons are learnt so that this never happens to other patients in future.”

The Grantham and District Hospital and Lincoln County Hospital admitted they not only failed to spot that she was suffering from a serious condition known as compartment syndrome – where blood builds up in the leg causing it to swell – but also failed to act on it for eight hours which made the condition worse.

They also went on to admit that Lincoln County Hospital, responsible for Lorraine’s after care, did not offer her any physiotherapy or a splint for her left foot for three months which led to further damage to the tendons in her calf and heel and a painful condition called ‘dropped foot,’ where her foot became twisted and she lost the movement over her ankle and toes.

The delays in her treatment and lack of physiotherapy meant Lorraine had to face the agonising decision to have her leg amputated and is unable to work.

Lorraine, who now needs carers to help support her, said: “It’s been five years since I went in for my routine operation. The last few years have been dreadfully painful and the most upsetting of my life.

“I still have nightmares about the whole ordeal and it still makes me angry that the entire situation could have been avoided had I been given the correct standard of care I deserve.

“It’s something I will never fully get over but now this horrendous time in my life has reached a conclusion I feel that I can focus on my life.

“My new bungalow has really helped with my recovery and certainly boosted my confidence. Knowing that the equipment I need in future will all be taken care of is such a massive relief and means that I can spend time with my family which is the most important thing in the world now.

“I am just relieved this is all over and I hope that the Trust learns from this and sincerely hope that this situation never happens to anyone else.”