Mary, 48

Mary was left with permanent difficulties walking and severe pain after an infection of the deeper levels of the skin in her left leg went undiagnosed due to appalling hospital failures. The pain had reached the point where it became so unmanageable that Mary underwent a below knee amputation. Mary can no longer work in her previous role and requires a house suitable for her disability. After her case was taken on by Angharad Hughes, a partner specialising in serious injuries in JMW’s medical negligence team, Mary was awarded £2.35 million in compensation. The settlement will enable her to cope with the financial aspects of the devastating injury she suffered.

Wrongly discharged

Mary’s troubles began when she woke in the early hours one morning with what felt like severe cramp in her left leg and groin. Mary presumed this would , but when it hadn’t two hours later she decided to attend A&E as she was concerned that she might be suffering from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). At hospital a blood test was taken which showed Mary had a high white blood cell count and indicated she was suffering from an infection. However having ruled out the possibility of a DVT doctors did not query this further Mary was discharged home with pain relief.

Over the next 24 hours Mary remained in considerable pain until in the early hours of the following morning a relative contacted the out of hours GP. She was advised to attend the clinic and was seen by a doctor who correctly diagnosed Mary with cellulitis. The doctor told Mary she needed hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics. The doctor contacted the hospital to let it know that Mary was on her way.

However the nurse practitioner who saw Mary at hospital decided that she should be discharged with oral antibiotics and not admitted for more aggressive treatment with the intravenous form. This was despite the fact she had all the symptoms of a severe infection and the serious consequences cellulitis can have if not properly treated. Mary was unhappy with this plan to discharge her but had no option but to return home.  

Ambulance

Over the next few hours Mary’s condition deteriorated and by teatime an ambulance was called. She was take back to hospital where she was seen by a doctor who started her on intravenous antibiotics a short time later. Mary remained in hospital for a few weeks as she battled the infection. Eventually this was brought under control and her condition was stabilised.

However, because the hospital wrongly discharged Mary on two occasions, her urgently-needed treatment was severely delayed. As a result she could not make a full recovery and was left with a leg that could not bear weight, was extremely painful and disfigured. Mary relies on ongoing pain relief but even this is not a solution and she is considering having the leg amputated to try and improve her situation.  

Successful medical negligence claim

Mary has suffered terribly due to the appalling failures of the hospital to the extent that she underwent a complex amputation to remove the extensive pain and associated symptoms which remained in her leg. She has lost much of her independence and is susceptible to falls. She cannot work in her previous role, nor enjoy the full and active life se once had. Although nothing could ever replace this, JMW’s Angharad Hughes was able to obtain an admission from the hospital that some of its actions were negligent and a compensation settlement totalling £2.35 million so that Mary could cope with the financial losses she suffered. The money has helped Mary to find a little more independence and build a new life for herself. 

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