Irwin Mitchell's expert medical negligence team based in Leeds has secured a six figure sum in compensation for a man who required a 'below the knee' operation, after a delay in treatment to a serious infection he suffered after fracturing his leg.
On 16 November 2010, our client, Mr Clark, who was 68 years old at the time of the accident fell and injured his right ankle whilst making repairs to a fence in his garden. He was taken to Pindersfields hospital by ambulance, where x-rays were undertaken. He was diagnosed with a right distal tibia fracture.
At a later date, on 30 November 2010, he underwent surgery to repair the fracture and was discharged home on the 3 December 2010. He was provided with a zimmer frame to allow him to mobilise himself while the fracture and wound healed.
Unfortunately, Mr Clark developed a post-operative infection. Despite various follow up appointments at the fracture clinic at Pinderfields hospital between December 2010 and March 2011, no action was taken to treat the infection and in particular, no antibiotics were prescribed.
Antibiotics were eventually prescribed in April 2011 but by this time, the wound was severely infected and the screw used to fix the fracture had began to protrude from the wound. Mr Clark had to be admitted to hospital on two separate occasions in April 2011 to have intravenous antibiotics to try and treat the infection and to remove the protruding screw.
Mr Clark was then referred to Hull Royal Infirmary for a specialist’s opinion on how to treat the infection and his fracture.
In July 2011, he was informed by the doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary that the infection had spread to the bone and that the fracture had not healed. He was informed that the only way to treat the fracture would be to have a cage on his leg, or to undergo an elective below the knee amputation.
He was advised that if they tried the cage and it was not successful, then they would probably have to do an above the knee amputation.
By August 2011 there had been no improvement in the infection and non-healed fracture, so Mr Clark informed the doctors at Castle Hill hospital in Hull that he wished to undergo elective below the knee amputation which was subsequently performed on 19 January 2012.
Following the surgery, Mr Clark underwent rehabilitation and was provided with an artificial limb. However, due to the surgery, he has lost full mobility, walks with a poor gait which is slow, laborious and requires a lot of energy and can only now walk about 40 meters.
He also suffers from stump pain and phantom limb pain. He has to use a motorised scooter when travelling any long distances and also has access to a wheelchair and a specially adapted car. He also lived in a property which was not suitable for his needs.
Prior to and around the time of amputation, Mr Clark also suffered from severe depression, loss of motivation and loss of self esteem due to his continuing pain and loss of mobility.
How Irwin Mitchell Helped
Mr Clark instructed Associate solicitor Margaret Ryan, who was assisted by assistant solicitor Katie Warner, to pursue a clinical negligence claim against The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, who are responsible for the care provided by Pinderfields Hospital.
Independent expert evidence was obtained which supported the allegations that Mr Clark had received substandard care from Pinderfields Hospital through the delay in diagnosing and treating the post-operative infection. It was also highlighted that if he had been provided with appropriate care he would have avoided the below the knee amputation.
The Trust admitted that those treating Mr Clark failed to recognise the post-operative infection and actively deal with it in a timely and more aggressive manner and further admitted that the amputation would have been avoided with a timely management of the infection.
Following negotiations with the Trust’s solicitors, Irwin Mitchell negotiated a six figure settlement figure on behalf of Mr Clark, to compensate him for the injuries he sustained as a result of the hospitals negligence and to provide him with the necessary funds to obtain an adapted property and obtain appropriate mobility aids.
Mr Clark said that the award has meant that he and his wife are “now able to start living our lives again, thanks to all the hard work and dedication of the team at Irwin Mitchell”.
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of hospital negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.
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