Two patients a week receive compensation for lost limbs caused by clinical negligence
Figures show the NHS has paid out £189 million in compensation to over 600 patients who required an amputation due to negligent care over a five-year period.
According to statistics from NHS Resolution - the operating name of NHS Litigation Authority – a total of 605 patients have won legal cases against NHS hospitals over the last five years after negligent care resulted in amputation. In total, £189 million was paid out during that period for such claims which means the average amount of compensation for the loss of a foot, leg or arm due to medical negligence was over £300,000.
Furthermore, there were 314 successful claims where patients lost their sight due to poor care, resulting in a total of £80 million in compensation – an average of £255,000 per patient.
There were also 162 cases where patients were compensated a total of £7 million for cosmetic disfigureherement – an average of £40,000 per claim.
Overall, the total amount of compensation paid out by NHS Resolution in the last five years reached £276 million, costing the NHS more than £150,000 each day.
John McQuater, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: "Compensation exists to help get injured patient's lives back on track, and to meet their additional needs. It is never a windfall, nor a reward for being a victim of negligence."
An NHS spokesman said: "Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff in delivering the highest standards of patient care, incidents like these are extremely rare, however when they do happen, the NHS is committed to learning from them to improve care for future patients."
The spokesman added a newly published framework will ensure "a significant shift in the way NHS responds to patient safety incidents".
Lesley Herbertson, Partner in our Clinical Negligence team, comments:
"The loss of a limb is completely life-changing and, when a limb has been lost due to the negligence of a third party, it can be even harder to come to terms with the consequences of the same. The physical and psychological damage caused by limb loss can be mitigated by access to some excellent prosthetics, which are largely available on a private basis. Good quality prosthetics can help an amputee regain a lot of their previous function and quality of life. However, they are expensive and can often make up a significant part of any compensation claim.
"If the NHS is able to learn from its mistakes, then there should be fewer claims which in turn could mean, in due course, access to the best prosthetics for all amputees, even where no fault is involved."
Lesley Herbertson is a Partner in clinical negligence here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about amputation as a result of clinical negligence or indeed any other aspect of clinical negligence and wish to speak to Lesley or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Lesley directly.