Grandfather’s life devastated after bungling doctors fail to treat infection  

25 September 2014

A hip replacement patient almost died when a hospital failed to treat an infection for five days causing him to develop severe sepsis and multiple organ failure. 

A doctor who initially examined John Buckley correctly suspected he had an infection in his hip due to his worrying symptoms and planned to insert a needle into the hip joint in order to draw out fluid to test for infection and then start antibiotics. However he was wrongly overruled by a consultant and the blunders that followed meant that John did not receive urgently needed treatment for five days. 

John, 62, of Worsley, Manchester, came close to death due to the failures and his heart stopped five times. He was in hospital for nine-and-half months while he battled to recover however his ordeal was completely preventable if he had been diagnosed and treated when he should have been. 

John, who is married to Dorothy, 60, had to have both his hip joints removed in the wake of the trauma and is now wheelchair bound with doubts over whether he will ever be able to walk independently again.

The failure to treat the infection in his right hip caused it to spread to his left hip and spine and it is currently unclear what the long-term impact of this will be. 

After John sought help from specialist medical negligence team at law firm JMW, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust admitted failing to treat John’s infection and that this caused multiple organ failure, the spread of the infection and the removal of his left hip joint. 

John’s solicitor at JMW Beth Reay is now negotiating a compensation settlement that will enable John to cope with his disability. 

Beth commented: “This is an extremely tragic case as if John has received the treatment he needed when he was first admitted to hospital the infection would have been treated successfully and he would have made a good recovery. It is absolutely appalling that he was almost killed by the hospital’s failures. 

“John was left untreated for days and on one day was not seen by a doctor at all. It was not until he was transferred to intensive care that doctors fighting to save his life diagnosed his infection and started the treatment he desperately needed. They were so shocked by John’s condition that they submitted an adverse incident report to hospital managers. 

“John is now very seriously disabled, which was completely preventable if basic steps had been taken to treat his infection.”

John, who together with Dorothy has eight children and step children and 10 grandchildren, commented: “This ordeal has been a living nightmare that I keep expecting to wake up from. My time in the hospital was the worst period of my life and although I feel lucky to be alive the physical impact of these errors has been absolutely devastating. 

“I just want some safeguards to be put in place by the hospital to stop this from happening to anyone else. I felt that something went badly wrong but the blunders that have come to light since Beth investigated my care have been unbelievable and at times very difficult to hear. I just hope lessons can be learned from my case.” 

John had suffered with problems with his right hip since 2008 and underwent a replacement of the joint in July 2009 at Salford Royal. In July 2011 he was put on the waiting list for the replacement of his left hip. 
In September 2011 John started to suffer pain in the right replaced hip joint. On 12 September when he began to feel very unwell with severe pain and a fever. John was taken to A&E at Salford Royal Hospital when his nightmare began. 

The doctor who initially examined John correctly suspected he had an infection in the hip and planned to start antibiotics however a catalogue of errors followed over the following five days. This included a consultant wrongly deciding that his symptoms were due to a reaction to the metal in the prosthetic hip joint and failing to recognise that strong steroid medication that John told them he was taking for a skin condition had masked blood test results. Urgent MRI scans were also not done, his infected hip was not washed out and crucially John was not provided with urgently needed antibiotics for five days. 

John’s right hip has now been reconstructed and he is waiting for his left hip to also be reconstructed. However it is unclear whether we will ever be able to walk again as the long-term implications of the spread of infection to his spine are not currently known. 

John, who in the past ran a fishing tackle shop in Walkden, had planned to return to work as a fishing guide teaching people to fish. However due to his severe disabilities caused by the hospital errors this has not been possible.  

Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle or Samantha Meakin on the details below:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.hindle@jmw.co.uk 

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones. 

 

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