Generally, doctors do an excellent job in treating patient’s admitted to Hospital. On – happily – very rare occasions, negligent medical treatment can lead to the amputation of a patient’s limb or limbs with devastating consequences for their private and working life.

Richard Blair, Partner and Member of the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel at WBW Solicitors, outlines how a claim is investigated when a limb has to be amputated as a result of medical negligence.

The need for the amputation of legs, arms, hands, feet, fingers or toes as a result of medical negligence, is exceedingly rare. But when it does happen the results are bound to be very serious for the patient and members of the family. It can happen for example if:

  • medical professionals fail to spot the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis or ischaemia (a restriction in blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen that is needed to keep tissue alive);
  • there is a misdiagnosis of, for example, an aneurysm;
  • a surgeon carries out surgery in the wrong place; or
  • the patient develops an infection whilst in Hospital leading to medical complications.

An amputation will have a dramatic effect on a patient’s life. Apart from the pain and suffering it causes, you may be prevented from working or forced to retrain so that you can carry our different work; work that may be much less well paid. You may only be able to work part-time rather than full-time.

Your mobility may be greatly restricted. It may not be possible for you to continue to live in a property with a lot of stairs or where access to and from the front door is by means of stairs. Perhaps you live in a block of flat with unreliable lift access. If your mobility is restricted, you may need suitable, alternative accommodation. That will involve considerable expense. The new property may well need to be adapted to your particular needs.

Even if you can and want to remain in your present home, you will probably have difficulty carrying out everyday tasks. You will have to buy special equipment for your existing home or vehicle.

It may be necessary for you to undergo further surgery. It may need to undergo physiotherapy or counselling. The need for prosthetic limbs has to be considered. None of these are pleasant topics to dwell on but they are vitally important and must not be overlooked. All are likely to be expensive; perhaps very expensive.

Sadly, the amputation of a limb or limbs can cause a range of additional long-term medical complications and those have to be taken into account when the claim is valued.

All of these arrangements cost a very considerable sum of money. That is why compensation is of vital importance.

If you have to undergo an amputation as a result of medical negligence, it is imperative you contact a specialist clinical negligence solicitor straight away. We recommend that your solicitor should be a member of either or both of the following: –

  • The Action Against Medical Accidents Solicitors’ Panel
  • The Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel.

Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the claims process, investigating the medical and legal issues which arise, arranging for medical reports to be prepared and by gathering evidence and drawing up witness statements, in order to ensure you get the right and fair level of compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as loss of earnings and other expenses. The solicitor will explain and handle the legal process from beginning to end.

For more information on claiming compensation for clinical negligence which has resulted in an amputation, or any other medical negligence issue, contact Richard Blair at WBW Solicitors on 01803 546100 or richardblair@wbw.co.uk.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.