Man awarded £1.5m after losing leg because of misdiagnosis

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Uncategorised on Thursday, August 14th, 2014

A man has received £1.5m compensation after his leg was amputated because doctors failed to correctly diagnose and treat his condition.

A man has received £1.5m compensation after his leg was amputated because doctors failed to correctly diagnose and treat his condition.

The man, 59, was admitted to hospital in September 2008, with a swollen ankle. He was in septic shock, clammy and pale and was suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea.

The doctors assumed that he was suffering from cellulitis. The vomiting and diarrhoea was put down to an allergic reaction to gout medication he had been taking.

The actual cause for his condition was septic arthritis in his ankle. His symptoms were consistent with this but it was not considered by the doctors.

Over the next few days, blood tests further pointed towards septic arthritis, but the doctors continued to work with the cellulitis diagnosis. The man remained feverish and uncomfortable in hospital for 10 days before a different doctor correctly diagnosed him as suffering with septic arthritis.

A surgical washout of the ankle to clear the infection was requested but was not performed for a further two days. By this point the infection had become too severe and the man was told he would need a below-the knee amputation of his leg.

He was given an operation date and discharged from the hospital with antibiotics.

After the man had his leg amputated, he developed severe kyphosis of the spine, leaving him immobile and unable to walk, even when using crutches.

The man took action against the hospital, claiming that the misdiagnosis had been negligent, and was the cause for his leg amputation and spine condition. He argued that if his injuries had been correctly diagnosed and treated immediately, he would still have his leg and be able to return to a normal life.

The hospital admitted liability regarding the misdiagnosis causing the leg to be amputated, but disputed that his spine condition was a result of the same error.

However, it agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £1.5m, to compensate the man for his injuries, and cover the costs of his new living needs and loss of future earnings.

James Sherwin said: “It is not uncommon for medical staff to stick too rigidly to their initial diagnosis. Sadly, in this case it has led to man sustaining unnecessary injuries that have had a devastating effect on his life.

“He will need all of his £1.5m compensation to fund his care and to make up for his loss of earnings.”

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