Diabetic Sue Ruck Developed Sepsis After Visiting Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth With Toe Injury
A diabetic woman is taking legal action against a Portsmouth NHS trust after needing an emergency leg amputation when she developed sepsis while being treated for a stubbed toe.
Sue Ruck, 60, visited Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) in Cosham with a toe injury approximately 14 days after stubbing it at her Portsmouth home.
The diabetic mum-of-two instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office to investigate her care after developing sepsis while being treated for a stubbed toe.
Irwin Mitchell has now written to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which is conducting its own investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, Irwin Mitchell is gathering expert medical evidence as they seek to help Sue to get the necessary funds to help with her rehabilitation and recovery.
Expert Opinion“Sue has significant rehabilitation ahead of her as well as prosthetics, walking aids and adaptions to her home to help her regain her previous quality of life.
“She is still struggling to come to terms with her amputation and the impact it has had on her independence. She is desperate for answers and feels that her diabetes should have raised a red flag when she was being examined.
“We have written to the Trust outlining Sue’s case and are now awaiting a response.” Nicole Causey - Chartered Legal Executive
Sue stubbed her right big toe while she was at home in mid July 2016. Over the next two weeks, the wound began to weep and grow increasingly painful, prompting Sue to visit her GP on August 8, where she was referred to QA.
After three nights as an inpatient, Sue was discharged. But her wound became more severe as sepsis developed and she was urgently readmitted to QA on August 31 were she had surgery to removed her toe. Just hours later, as she recovered, surgeons delivered the devastating news that the infection was so bad she would need to have her right leg amputated below the knee.
Sue said: “It is hard to comprehend how a stubbed toe – something I’m sure most people have done on more than one occasion – could result in such a catastrophic injury. To say I am devastated is an obvious understatement, and I’m bitterly disappointed at what I feel was a huge oversight in my care.
“When you go to hospital you feel like you’re in the most capable hands; that our amazing doctors and nurses will identify the problem and set you on the road to recovery. But I feel like I got anything but the best possible care. I now face life as an amputee and haven’t really even begun to come to terms with that.
“I just want lessons to be learned so it can’t happen to anyone else. No one should lose their leg because of a stubbed toe in this day and age. I can’t bare the idea that this could happen to someone else.”
As a result of the amputation, Sue has lost her independence and now relies on either a wheelchair or prosthetic leg to get about, yet still with some difficulty.
Because her home is on an incline, she needed a ramp installed before she could be discharged from hospital, which meant she had to be cared for at a relative’s home when she first left the hospital.
Irwin Mitchell’s client liaison manager service helped Sue apply for a council grant to fund a wet room at her home. Before that was installed she was forced to strip-wash every day and was unable to bathe or shower.
Husband of 41 years, George, 65, retired in December last year and now cares for Sue.
Read more about the work of Irwin Mitchell's medical negligence team here.