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Poor care left man undergoing above knee amputation

District Nurses failed to treat pressure sore correctly resulting in amputation of man's leg

Over 20 years ago, Piers suffered a spinal injury which rendered him paraplegic. He had a special mattress to help prevent pressure sores from developing and he was under the care of the local District Nurse team.

However, in August 2011, Piers started to develop a pressure sore on his right heel, after his mattress ceased to function properly.

The local NHS Trust was responsible for the mattress and the care provided by the District Nurse team. There was a delay in having the mattress fixed and the pressure sore was poorly managed by the District Nurses.

This caused Piers to develop vascular necrosis (as he was already susceptible to peripheral vascular disease) meaning his bone tissue was dying due to a lack of blood supply to the area and he was required to undergo an above knee amputation.

Piers now needs additional care and is now even more restricted in his wheelchair. We argued that had the pressure sore been treated appropriately then Piers would have avoided amputation altogether and the further restriction to his already limited mobility.

However, breach and causation were keenly disputed and, after careful consideration, a compromise settlement was agreed.

We were successful in obtaining a compensation award of £100,000 on Piers’ behalf and this has enabled him to buy additional equipment to help him get back more of his independence.

Lesley Herbertson, senior clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, acted for Piers and said:

It was a pleasure acting on behalf of Piers, given his positive spirit in the face of coping with an amputation on top of his already compromised mobility.

In this case, both breach of duty and causation of injury were very much in dispute and Piers did have a history of pressure sores as well as peripheral vascular disease which arguably might have led him to have an amputation in any event. Therefore, to achieve an early settlement on behalf of Piers, making much needed funds available to him, was a good result.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

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