Six figure sum following below knee amputation after fall in hospital

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Mrs M had a history of a condition that caused her to feel lightheaded occasionally when she stood up. In April 2012 she stood up one evening and fell over. Mrs M had diabetes which caused problems with the feeling within her lower leg.

She realised she had injured herself seriously and an ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital. She had broken her leg just above the ankle, which resulted in surgery to pin and plate, this all went well, however there were concerns with healing due to her medical condition.

By the end of the first week she was doing very well and had been assisted to transfer from bed to wheelchair. Generally she required a wheelchair when she was out of the home but within the home she could move about using furniture and walls for support.

One morning she called for assistance as her catheter was causing her problems. A nurse came to help her to sort this out and broke, inadvertently, a valve on the catheter. This was not an uncommon occurrence. Mrs M waited for the nurse to come back but unfortunately she did not return before Mrs M needed to empty her bladder urgently. She rang her call bell and after half an hour felt she had no option but to try and take herself to the toilet. She managed to transfer to the wheelchair which was next to her bed and then manually took herself to the local toilet. Once she was in the toilet there was a raised seat over the toilet and a perching stool next to the sink. The toilet was too small to get in with these pieces of equipment in the way. On trying to move these she fell from her chair and re-fractured her leg.

There were concerns about the healing now she had re-broken her leg. She was given the option of at least six months of rehabilitation surgery and remaining in hospital or to have a below knee amputation and then she would be out of hospital fairly quickly. She was very frightened of both options but did eventually feel persuaded to accept a below knee amputation.

Mrs M and her family were concerned that she had been unable to obtain help when she requested it and had felt that she had no option but to go to the toilet where she had fallen because there was equipment which prevented her from accessing the toilet to empty her catheter bag. She contacted Patricia Wakeford of BL Claims Solicitors to discuss options.

A claim was commenced and supportive expert evidence obtained. Liability was denied by the Portsmouth Trust throughout. Mrs M had no option but to issue and serve court proceedings. Prior to this step a settlement offer was made by Mrs M to try and settle her claim. However, this was rejected.

Trial was due to commence in the High Court in London in April 2017. However, Mrs M asked for a meeting with the trust to see if the case could be settled. A date was agreed in February 2017. Settlement was eventually agreed on that date.

A six figure sum was obtained in settlement which has enabled Mrs M to obtain adaptations to her property which will make it easier for her to manage within the home. It is also helping her to have some cruise holidays specifically for disabled people. This has been a real pleasure for her as previously due to how the below knee amputation had impacted on her, she was unable to get out of the house very often. Her instability due to her medical conditions did worsen as a result of the below knee amputation; virtually keeping Mrs M in her own home except when she had help to leave the house.

Mrs M was very happy with the outcome of her claim.

If you require further information or would like to discuss a similar claim, Patricia Wakefield will be happy to discuss with you.

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
Email Patricia
023 8085 7310

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