Scarring caused by delay in treating severe skin infection - £25,000 compensation

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Scarring caused by delay in treating severe skin infection - £25,000 compensation

“David”, 36

David was left with permanent scarring after a delay in treating cellulitis of his left hand, which is a bacterial infection of the skin. After contacting the specialist medical negligence team at JMW for help, David’s case was taken on by solicitor Rachael Heyes who negotiated compensation of £25,000 to help with his recovery.

Symptoms of cellulitis

David’s problems began when he noticed a small scratch on his left hand which was itchy, red and swollen. When he started to feel increasingly unwell, he took himself to the A&E department at his local hospital to have his hand checked out.

Whilst at hospital David was reviewed, reassured and discharged home with a course of antibiotics.

Back at home David’s hand continued to swell and he noticed that the redness had spread further up his arm. He also felt feverish and so returned to A&E. On admission to A&E, it was determined that David required surgery to drain the infection in his hand. However, despite this decision being made, the surgery was not performed until some 30 hours after his admission.

The delay in treatment meant that after the initial operation, David had to undergo further surgery, including extensive reconstruction of his left hand due to the damage caused by the delay in treating the infection. The reconstruction surgery has left David with scarring, which he is very self-conscious about and has impacted his ability to carry out leisure activities.

JMW’s investigations

Rachael asked leading independent medical experts to comment on the standard of treatment David received and the cause of the damage to his hand. The experts agreed that there had been failures in David’s care and that with earlier treatment, he would have avoided the need for the reconstruction surgery and his scarring would have been significantly less.

This evidence Rachael gathered from the experts enabled her to build a strong case against the hospital trust responsible for the A&E department and its failures. Rachael was then able to negotiate the £25,000 compensation settlement for David which has gone some way towards making up for his pain, suffering and significant scarring.

Rachael Heyes, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW who handled David’s case, commented:

“Delaying David’s surgery for so many hours caused a treatable infection to become much worse and has had lifelong consequences for him. A&E departments are increasingly busy but patients must be prioritised correctly to ensure those in need of urgent surgery receive this in good time.”

Rachael Heyes, Associate Solicitor
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