Leslie Arthur Is Calling For Greater Awareness Of The Importance Of Diabetic Foot Care Among GP Surgery Staff
A diabetic man who had to have his left leg amputated after staff at his GP surgery failed to treat a serious burn to his foot on 21 occasions is speaking out after the GP surgery admitted it made mistakes in his care.
Leslie Arthur, an insulin dependent diabetic from, Redhill, Surrey, went to Town Hill Medical Practice in Caterham 21 times between February 28 and May 15, 2013 to have a burn to his foot dressed, but nurses failed to take into account his history of diabetes and the importance of foot care and did not refer him to a doctor or hospital for specialist diabetic care.
Leslie, 63, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to secure him a settlement to fund rehabilitation and support after he developed an infection in his foot and needed his left leg amputated below the knee.
Leslie is speaking out to call for greater awareness of the importance of diabetic foot care among GP surgery staff and diabetic patients.
Leslie said: “As a diabetic, it’s so important to be educated to look after your feet and ensure that you treat any cuts or other injuries properly. I made sure I went to the doctors after I burned myself to make sure it didn’t develop into anything serious. So it’s hard to accept that something like this can happen when I was being seen so regularly at my local surgery.
“I know it’s too late for me. Nothing can take back what has happened but if lessons can be learned from what happened to me so that other patients don’t go through the same distressing and life-changing experience then that would at least be something.”
The life-long Manchester United supporter, added: “Life has obviously changed dramatically for me. I now have to use the disabled section to watch home games which doesn’t have the same atmosphere as being in amongst it in the stands. I don’t even go to away games because it’s too stressful trying to work out travel arrangements and access.
“I am just not as active as I once was and of course getting about is now far more challenging. But it’s my hope that a settlement will help me with my rehabilitation which will in turn help me regain my independence.”
Irwin Mitchell is working to secure Leslie a settlement to help fund his ongoing rehabilitation along with a suitable prosthetic and any home adaptations he now requires as an amputee.
Expert Opinion“It is essential that GP staff have a greater awareness of the importance of foot care with diabetic patients and ensure any patient at risk of infection are treated appropriately and promptly.
“At no point during any of his appointments was his diabetes checked and at no point was he referred to his GP or to the hospital for specialist diabetic or wound treatment.
“Had staff at the surgery followed the correct procedures, he would have been treated much sooner. Unfortunately, by the time it was finally recognised, it was too late. The infection had spread deep into the tissue in his leg and amputation was the only option.
“We are pleased that Town Hill Medical Practice has admitted failings in Leslie’s care and hope that lessons can be learned from his experience to prevent other patients suffering a similar distressing ordeal.
“We are now working with Leslie to secure a settlement which will allow him to access vital rehabilitation therapy and support to help him regain independence, address his future care needs and fund any equipment he may require.” Alexandra Winch - Senior Associate Solicitor
Leslie’s ordeal began on February 26, 2013 when he awoke at home to find he had burned his foot while sleeping in front of an electric heater. He visited Town Hill Medical Practice and was seen by a nurse who dressed his wound but failed to take into account his history of diabetes and the importance of foot care. He visited his surgery a further 20 times from February to May 2013 to have his wound redressed but he should have been referred immediately to the multi-disciplinary foot care team at the hospital for specialist diabetic care.
Leslie was finally admitted to East Surrey Hospital in Whitebushes on July 6 2013 but despite numerous surgical procedures it was too late to treat the infection and his condition deteriorated resulting in a below the knee amputation of the left leg on August 8.
Town Hill Medical Practice admitted that Leslie should have been referred to the multidisciplinary foot care team at East Surrey Hospital when he first attended on February 28 and that, had Leslie attended the multidisciplinary team on that date and followed the correct advice and treatment given he would have received appropriate clinical treatment for his wound.
Read more about the work of Irwin Mitchell's Medical Negligence Team.