Our medical negligence solicitors have claimed compensation for a man who needed a leg amputation after a series of medical errors and misdiagnoses.
Months of Mistakes
Brian Bithrey was a fiercely independent 64-year-old. He lived on his own on the Isle of Sheppey and was a full time, self-employed service engineer.
Brian was passionate about his job and in particular enjoyed the social element of being able to travel around the country and meet different people. Brian enjoyed DIY projects and built a swimming pool in his back garden. He enjoyed swimming every day to maintain his fitness and was an avid darts player.
Having experienced no prior problems with circulation or issues with his legs, in March 2014, his calf and foot suddenly became white, numb and painful. He called for an ambulance which took him to Medway Hospital.
The vascular team reviewed and discharged him, advising him to return for a CT angiogram in late March 2014. Medical staff advised Brian that everything was normal and diagnosed a vaso-spastic disorder for which there was no treatment.
In April 2014, Brian experienced a similar episode when his left calf suddenly became white, numb and painful. Again, an ambulance took him to Medway Hospital a vascular surgeon examined him, reiterating that the imaging was normal and he had a vaso-spastic disorder.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, Brian continued to experience similar episodes in both his right and left leg lasting several minutes before resolving. By July, he was becoming increasingly concerned and his right leg became increasingly painful and pale after coming home from work.
He called an ambulance again and arrived at Medway Hospital around 9.00pm. Staff told Brian that he would have to wait for a bed and a doctor didn’t see him until the following morning. During this time his leg remained completely white, pulseless, and numb.
The doctor assessed him and completed an urgent CT angiogram which diagnosed right critical limb ischemia with complete occlusion. That meant the artery in his leg was completely blocked, cutting off blood supply.
Despite a number of surgeries to attempt to approve the blood flow to his calf, it was too late. The surgeries were unsuccessful and Brian had an above knee amputation in August.
How We Helped
Brian got in touch with our medical negligence team to see if we could help. Alexandra Winch took on his case and began a compensation claim.
We commissioned independent expert evidence which concluded that Brian’s medical treatment was substandard. Medical staff missed clear signs of lower limb ischaemia and instead made an illogical and inaccurate diagnosis of a vasospastic disorder. When Brian attended A&E with signs of acute critical limb ischaemia, diagnosis and treatment were unacceptably delayed.
The NHS Trust responsible for Brian’s care admitted that they had breach of duty towards Brian in failing to diagnose and treat his ischemia. They also admitted that he wouldn’t have needed amputation if it weren’t for their negligence.
While the claim continued, we secured an interim compensation payment for Brian to help him get the prosthetics and rehabilitation he needed to regain mobility. He even managed to get specialist water prosthetics so he could attend his nephew’s wedding on a beach in Tobago.
The full claim has now finished, with Alexandra successfully negotiating a substantial out-of-court compensation settlement for Brian. The compensation is funding the construction of a new home adapted to Brian’s mobility needs, which he is project-managing himself in between his travels around the world.
“For Brian to have suffered an entirely preventable amputation is a shocking level of negligence,” said Alexandra. “We’re thrilled to have secured Brian the compensation he deserves to help him regain the quality of life he had before the incident.”
If you or a loved one has been affected by medical negligence, we may be able to help. See our Medical Negligence Compensation Claims page to learn more.
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