Failure to properly treat a left leg compound fracture leading to a below the knee amputation

A keen motorcyclist, the claimant enjoyed being a member of his local motorcycle club, which he had attended. One day on his journey home the claimant was involved in a road traffic accident at around 8.00pm, in which he sustained open fractures of the tibia and fibula bones in his left lower leg with a large laceration said to measure 10 , 15 centimetres.

The claimant was taken by ambulance to Hospital where he was admitted to a ward in the early hours. He underwent repair surgery to the fractures in his leg, which took over 8 hours. He then had to undergo further surgery, by way of debridement and split skin grafting, to the open wound over the left lower leg.

He was discharged home, with the plan for him to attend a day clinic at the Hospital every Tuesday. Having attended these clinics on a weekly basis he was told that the team were not happy with the progress his wound was making and that he should be admitted back to the Hospital for further treatment. He was later discharged home with a Freedom Device Vac treatment on his leg. This failed to work properly however, and he was forced to attend the Accident & Emergency Department, whereupon he was readmitted to the ward he had been on previously.

The claimant underwent a below the knee amputation on his left leg, and has been left permanently disabled ever since.

Initial instructions were received by Moore Blatch’s clinical negligence solicitors to bring a claim for damages arising out of the negligence of the Trust. In particular, it was alleged that British Orthopaedic Association and the British Association of Plastic Surgeons Guidelines on the Management of Open Tibial Fractures September 1999 were not followed and the leg was left for several weeks without adequate soft tissue cover. As a result of this the bone in the left leg was not adequately served with blood supply, leading to the need for a below the knee amputation.

The claimant was unable to return to work following his amputation, and he suffered ongoing difficulties with his prosthesis due to blistering and the persistent use of crutches which aggravated his pre existing carpel tunnel syndrome.  He also suffered psychological symptoms and was referred for counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy by his GP. The impact also extended to the cliamant’s wife, who had to care for him, resulting in her own loss of earnings.

The claim was settled for a large six figure sum.

This was a complex case concerning issues of causation which required detailed expert evidence and joint meetings in a bid to finalise a settlement prior to the matter proceeding to trial. Considerable expert evidence was also required in terms of condition and prognosis and quantum. Sarah Stanton, partner at Moore Blatch solicitors with expertise in personal injury and clinical negligence, assumed responsibility for the case, and she said: “this was a considerably complex case, and though liability was admitted early by the Defendants, there was still a long way to go before an agreement could be reached as to quantum. Thankfully the Defendants accepted our offer, and though the sum will be little by way of compensation for the pain and suffering that our client experienced, it should go some way to helping him and his wife carry on with their lives.”