Case Study: man loses leg because of clerical error
Compensation - £175,000
Daniel tripped and fell when gardening, fracturing his right lower leg (tibia and fibula). The fracture was manipulated under anaesthetic and the leg placed in a plaster cast.
On a review at the fracture clinic about three weeks later it was noticed that the fracture was not well positioned and there was some shortening of the leg. He was advised that he would need an operation to fix the fracture with metal screws. The operation went ahead and a below knee plaster cast was applied.
The plan was that he should remain in this cast for four weeks and then be followed up – an appointment would be sent. Daniel patiently waited for the promised appointment but, because of a clerical error, it never arrived and he remained in the same plaster cast for six months.
Eventually, when his leg began to smell, Daniel removed the cast and discovered that there was a hole in the skin over the operation site with a metal pin protruding. Also his foot was clearly infected and quite possibly gangrenous. He was admitted to hospital and an X-ray showed that the screws had broken and the fractured bones had become displaced and had failed to heal.
Due to the extent of the infection and tissue damage the fracture was now untreatable a decision was taken to amputate the leg below the knee.
After seeking help from the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence the hospital admitted that a follow up appointment should have been sent to Daniel. We obtained expert evidence that states that had this occurred the leg would not have become infected and the amputation would not have been necessary. It is likely that Daniel would have been able return to the condition he was in before the fall whereas now he is confined to a wheelchair and needs an adapted property to live in.
The team at Hospital Negligence was able to obtain £175,000 in compensation for Daniel to help him to cope with his avoidable injury.
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