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Leading charity, Diabetes UK, estimates that diabetes leads to almost 9600 leg, toe, or foot amputations in the UK every year. That’s 185 diabetes-related lower limb amputations each week. The charity estimates that 80% of these could have been prevented.
The estimated number of preventable amputations is based on the large proportion of these cases which begin with foot ulcers. Unhealed ulcers and foot infections are the main cause of diabetes-related amputations. Foot ulcers in people with diabetes are avoidable with proper foot care. They are also treatable if the first signs are spotted early and acted upon quickly, but are often unrecognised and untreated in people with diabetes until it is too late to save the foot or avoid amputation.
Diabetes affects more than 4.9 million people in the UK. Negligent diabetic healthcare is also the cause of some of the most common types of claims that we see against GPs. This is because diabetes is a risk factor for serious medical complications and conditions, including amputation.
Diabetes is a serious condition in which an individual’s blood sugar (glucose) level is too high. There are different types of diabetes, of which the most common are type 1 and type 2.
In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, the hormone which controls blood sugar by moving it out of the blood and breaking it down to produce energy. Type 1 diabetics need insulin injections to control their blood sugar.
In the increasingly common type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not produce enough of it to control the blood sugar. If caught early, type 2 diabetes may be managed with lifestyle changes. As the disease progresses over time, medication may be needed.
Diabetes is related to various other conditions, including thyroid disease, coeliac disease, dental problems and muscular conditions, such as Dupuytren’s contracture. Diabetes also has its own serious complications, including hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), threats to eyesight from retinopathy and blindness, cardiovascular disease, nephropathy (kidney damage) and neuropathy (nerve damage).
People with diabetes can reduce their risk of suffering these complications by:
Smoking and poor management of their diabetic health increase their risks. Good foot care is essential to reduce the risk of disability from lower limb amputation.
High blood sugar levels causes damage to the blood vessels and impairs the blood flow to the feet and legs. Uncontrolled diabetes is therefore a common cause of lower limb amputations. It has been estimated that someone with diabetes is 20 times more likely to experience an amputation than someone who is not affected by the condition.
To help investigate your diabetic amputation claim, we will obtain medical records, any investigation documentation and treatment protocols. We will then take a detailed witness statement from you and others as necessary and instruct independent medical experts to consider the care you received and the consequences for you of the failings in your care.
The defendant may accept responsibility for your injury as a result of negligent care, and we may be able to negotiate the appropriate compensation award at this point.
If settlement is not achieved, we will start court proceedings and take your case towards trial keeping the defendant under pressure to agree settlement of your claim. Over 95% of cases succeed without the need for trial but every case is prepared on the basis that a judge will need to decide all the issues in your claim that the defendant has not admitted.
For over 30 years, Boyes Turner’s top-rated and successful medical negligence team have helped clients disabled by diabetic amputation recover compensation to rebuild their lives.
Our clients benefit from early rehabilitation, specialist prosthetics, therapies and equipment, adaptations to their homes and vehicles to help restore their mobility and independence. Alongside the physical, therapeutic and psychological benefits of compensation for amputation, compensation brings financial security, by replacing lost earnings and the other expenses associated with severe disability.
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Charcot foot is a serious, limb-threatening complication of diabetes. It is caused by a combination of factors, including reduced muscle control, tissue damage and loss of sensation from diabetic neuropathy (damage to the nerves).
The condition is often triggered by a minor injury, such as a sprain or a twisted ankle, which unnoticed and untreated develops into far more serious injury as the bones of the ankle and foot degenerate and deform. If incorrectly treated, Charcot foot can lead to disability and amputation.
People with diabetes are at increased risk of Charcot foot because as their condition causes their gait and balance deteriorate, they are more susceptible to sprains, knocks and cuts. They are then less likely to be aware of their injury, continuing to weight-bear and walk on the injured foot, which further damages the bones and tissues leading to serious disability.
Symptoms which suggest Charcot foot include:
If Charcot foot is suspected or diagnosed, the sufferer should be referred immediately to a multidisciplinary foot care team. Treatment will include taking weight-bearing pressure off the foot and immobilising the foot to allow it to heal in the correct position by putting it in a plaster cast. The patient will undergo regular X-rays and appointments with a podiatrist to monitor the condition.
Sufferers of Charcot foot have a high risk of further serious complications from infection and must remain vigilant about injuries or changes to their feet. If there is any sign of new ulceration, a wound, swelling or discolouration, the patient must be referred within 24 hours to a multidisciplinary foot care team as any infection must be treated urgently to avoid the need for amputation.
As with all diabetic foot conditions, the key to reducing the risk of Charcot foot is vigilant foot care, good diabetic health management, regular check-ups and prompt medical treatment of any injury (however minor).
The risk of Charcot foot is increased by:
Our specialist amputation lawyers have recovered damages settlements and awards for amputee clients with diabetes following negligent treatment of:
When an individual has diabetes, their body struggles to control their blood sugar (glucose) level and If blood glucose levels are persistently high, this damages the blood vessels and affects the circulation of blood to the legs and feet.
People with diabetes often have reduced sensation (feeling) in their feet as a result of their poor blood circulation affecting their nerves. This means that they are less aware of minor injuries to their feet, which can then go untreated, leaving them at greater risk of serious foot problems, including Charcot foot, ulcers, infection and gangrene, which lead to lower limb amputation.
The pain from a minor cut, scratch, or blister is immediately noticeable to someone who can feel their feet normally. The pain or discomfort alerts them to the need to protect the damaged skin to let it heal. A person with diabetes who cannot feel their feet remains unaware of the cut or blister until it has developed into an ulcer or become infected. By then, it is more difficult to treat. The problem is compounded when the person with diabetes also has impaired vision from retinopathy, preventing them from carrying out effective visual checks of their feet.
People with diabetes should carry out visual foot checks daily. If their eyesight is impaired, they should seek help from someone who can check their feet for them, so that minor injuries are spotted, and medical help sought as soon as possible after injury occurs. In addition to their own checks, people with diabetes should have regular check-ups with trained healthcare professionals, and access to foot-care specialists and multidisciplinary foot-care teams.
It is essential that people with diabetes see their GP immediately if they feel generally unwell or if their feet have:
GP treatment might include:
Signs of foot problems include:
The following changes need urgent medical attention:
If you notice any of these problems, you must:
However small the change, it is essential to get urgent medical treatment to avoid the risk of amputation.
People with diabetes can take these steps to keep their feet healthy:
Our friendly, experienced medical negligence lawyers have helped clients with diabetes who suffered amputation after:
● delay or failure to diagnose, properly manage and treat signs of Charcot foot;
● delay or failure to diagnose and treat signs of peripheral ischaemia;
● delay or failure to diagnose and properly treat foot injuries, such as ulcers;
● delay or failure to manage, diagnose and/or treat DVT, thrombosis and coagulation problems;
● failure to advise patient about importance of foot care health;
● failure to examine the patient’s feet;
● failure to refer the patient to a multidisciplinary foot care clinic;
● failure to regularly monitor patient’s diabetic health;
● delay or failure to refer the patient to hospital or to a specialist;
● failure to diagnose and properly treat infection.
Boyes Turner’s nationally acclaimed serious injury solicitors have recovered medical negligence compensation for amputees with diabetes for:
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In type 1 diabetes the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, the hormone which controls blood sugar by moving it out of the blood and breaking it down to produce energy. Type 1 diabetics need insulin injections to control their blood sugar.
Diabetes is related to various other conditions, including thyroid disease, coeliac disease, dental problems and muscular conditions, such as Dupuytren’s contracture. Diabetes also has its own serious complications, including hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), threats to eyesight from retinopathy and blindness, cardiovascular disease, nephropathy (kidney damage) and neuropathy (nerve damage). People with diabetes can reduce their risk of suffering these complications by controlling their blood pressure, blood glucose and blood fat levels, keeping active and maintaining a healthy body weight. Smoking and poor management of their diabetic health increase their risks. Good foot care is essential to reduce the risk of disability from lower limb amputation.
People with diabetes should carry out visual foot checks daily. If their eyesight is impaired, they should seek help from someone who can check their feet for them, so that minor injuries are spotted and medical help sought as soon as possible after injury occurs. In addition to their own checks, people with diabetes should have regular check-ups with trained healthcare professionals, access to foot-care specialists and multi-disciplinary foot-care teams.
It is essential that people with diabetes see their GP immediately if they feel generally unwell or if their feet have:
Our friendly, experienced medical negligence lawyers have helped clients with diabetes who suffered amputation after:
The condition is often triggered by a minor injury, such as a sprain or a twisted ankle which unnoticed and untreated develops into far more serious injury as the bones of the ankle and foot degenerate and deform. If incorrectly treated, Charcot foot can lead to disability and amputation.
If Charcot foot is suspected or diagnosed, the sufferer should be referred immediately to a multidisciplinary foot care team. Treatment will include taking weight-bearing pressure off the foot and immobilising the foot to allow it to heal in the correct position by putting it in a plaster cast. The patient will undergo regular x-rays and appointments with a podiatrist to monitor the condition.
Medical negligence is when a medical professional, such as a doctor, midwife, or nurse, or other healthcare practitioner is negligent if they act in a way that falls below any acceptable standard of care.
If someone is injured as a result of medical negligence, they are entitled to compensation for any injury that was caused and for the financial consequences of that injury.
Medical negligence claims that involve severe injury and disability should always be handled by specialist medical negligence solicitors. It takes experience and skill to successfully prove that medical negligence has caused a patient’s injuries, and to secure the highest levels of compensation.
Anyone who has suffered serious injury or disability as a result of negligent NHS or private medical care can make a medical negligence claim for compensation. Special rules apply to children, adults with mental incapacity, and claims arising from a fatal injury/someone’s death.
Children and teenagers under the age of 18, or anyone with mental incapacity, must make their claim via a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian in the case of a child, or a partner or other adult family member in the case of an adult with mental incapacity. The solicitor handling the claim takes instructions and works closely with the litigation friend whilst ensuring that decisions are made in the best interests of the child or mentally incapable adult who is making the claim. You can find out more about making a claim for a child.
Some important decisions, such as agreements to settle a child or mentally incapable adult’s claim, must be approved by the court. Arrangements must also be made to safeguard the child or mentally incapable adult’s compensation, whether from an interim payment, lump sum settlement or agreed future payments. Depending on the claimant’s circumstances, this may be done by paying the money into a Court Funds Office account until the child is 18, by appointing a Court of Protection deputy or setting up a personal injury trust. You can find out more about Court of Protection deputyship and personal injury trusts.
If the claim is for bereaved family members and dependants after medical negligence caused someone’s death, the claim must be made by the deceased’s personal representative (executor or administrator of their estate) on behalf of all who are entitled to compensation as a result of the death. You can find out more about making a fatal injury medical negligence claim here.
The NHS has a responsibility to provide its patients with a safe and acceptable level of care. If a patient is seriously injured or their condition is made significantly worse as a result of negligent NHS care, the patient may be entitled to claim compensation.
Compensation can help meet the costs of care, therapies, equipment and home adaptations that are needed when an NHS mistake causes injury or disability that permanently affects the patient’s life.
We are experts at helping clients receive the compensation they deserve from the NHS. We understand the concerns that patients and their families sometimes have about claiming against the NHS. You can read our answers to many of the most common questions on our NHS claims page or speak to one of our solicitors about your own claim by contacting us.
Whilst we cannot guarantee that any particular claim will settle out of court, we take great care in investigating and preparing each claim that we take on. Our clients’ claims usually settle successfully without the need for a contested trial.
Occasionally, cases can only be concluded by a formal court hearing, such as where:
Where our client’s claim is complicated by any of the above, we may advise our client that for the case to proceed, it must go to a court hearing. Our caring and highly experienced medical negligence solicitors and barristers ensure that our clients are always kept informed and supported.
Even in non-contested cases, there will be occasions when the case is brought for shorter hearings before the court, such as after a settlement for a child or brain injured adult without mental capacity takes place. In these cases, the lawyers for both sides present the agreed settlement to the court for the judge’s approval.
Each claimant’s compensation is calculated in accordance with mandatory rules based on their individual circumstances.
Compensation for medical negligence should put the injured person back in the position that they would have been in if the negligence hadn’t happened, in so far as money can.
In a medical negligence claim, the amount of compensation depends on:
Compensation for medical negligence usually includes a sum for the injury, and sums to compensate for financial losses and the cost of meeting the needs that arise from the disability.
Our medical negligence solicitors ensure clients receive their compensation in the way that is best suited to meet their needs.
Depending on our clients’ injuries, individual circumstances and needs, we can recover compensation to pay for:
Where medical negligence caused someone’s death, compensation may be claimed by the deceased’s dependants and on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Compensation in a fatal injury medical negligence claim can be paid for:
There are three ways to fund a medical negligence claim, legal aid, no win no fee, and legal expense insurance.
A medical examination is usually needed to assess our client’s injury. Where our client has suffered multiple injuries or both physical and psychological injuries, they may need to be examined by specialists in each area. This is important to make sure that our client’s injuries are fully assessed and understood, so that they can be properly compensated.
If a medical examination is needed, we instruct the specialist and make the arrangements. We ensure that they have access to our client’s medical records and are aware of the background to the claim. The hospital or doctor against whom the claim is being made may also ask for our client to be examined by their medical expert.
The law states that, in most cases, someone who has been injured as a result of medical negligence has three years from the date of the negligence which caused the injury to issue court proceedings. If they fail to issue court proceedings within that time, their claim will be statute barred, meaning that they lose their right to bring a claim.
There are the following exceptions to the three-year rule:
Regardless of your time limit, we recommend that you contact our medical negligence solicitors as soon as you can, even if at that stage you are only considering whether to make a claim.
By contacting us early, it avoids later problems with deadlines and allows us to advise you on how to collect and preserve essential evidence. This enables us to ensure you have the best chance of securing your entitlement to full compensation for your claim.
If a baby, child, or teenager under the age of 18 makes a claim for compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence, their claim is made on their behalf by a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian.
As the child’s solicitor, we have a responsibility to make sure that all decisions relating to the claim are made in the best interests of the child. To do this, we work very closely with the child’s family. Some important decisions, such as settlement agreements or the amount of money that is allocated to a child in a claim involving more than one claimant, must be approved by the court.
We are specialists in helping families obtain full compensation for children who have been very severely injured, leaving them with permanent disability and lifelong specialist needs. Our expert children’s claims service includes a dedicated Court of Protection team who help our clients protect, budget and access their compensation via deputyship and trusts, and an SEN team to ensure that their special educational needs are met. Find out more about how we help families, children, and teenagers with children’s claims.
If you think that you or a family member have received negligent medical treatment or have experienced malpractice, we recommend that you speak to one of our friendly, experienced clinical negligence claim solicitors as soon as possible.
You can contact us by telephone or by email. Your enquiry will be handled confidentially and preliminary advice in relation to pursuing a claim will be given free of charge.
Our medical negligence solicitors will ask you to tell us briefly what has happened, advise you about the limitation deadlines (time limits) which apply to your claim and whether we are able to help you investigate your claim.
Once our initial investigations have taken place, we will notify the defendant (hospital or doctor) of your intention to pursue a claim and invite them to respond, giving them an opportunity to admit liability, before court proceedings are issued.
If liability is admitted, we will enter judgment and apply for an interim payment as soon as possible to meet any urgent needs that you may have as a result of the negligently caused injury.
If liability is disputed, we will discuss with you the further steps that we need to take to progress your claim.
Our extensive guide on making a medical negligence claim explains the whole process, if you require any further information.
The duration of a medical negligence claim depends on the individual circumstances of the client’s case. The claim is likely to take less time to conclude where:
Circumstances which make the claim more complex and therefore take longer to resolve include:
Our medical negligence solicitors work hard to secure early admissions of liability and substantial interim payments so that we can begin to alleviate financial hardship and provide essential care, respite, specialist equipment, therapies and home adaptations long before the claim has settled. With liability judgments secured and interim funds in place, the individual and their family are able to focus on rebuilding their lives whilst we concentrate on valuing and negotiating settlement of the claim.
Compensation is carefully structured to ensure the best provision for the injured person’s needs. Our clients often benefit from different types of compensation, including:
Where healthcare is found to be (legally) negligent, then the claimant (the person making the claim) must prove that their injury was caused or significantly worsened by the negligent care.
This is important because the patient may already be very ill when they receive negligent medical care. In those circumstances, they must prove that their injury (and its financial consequences) would have been avoided or greatly reduced if correct treatment had been given. This aspect of the medical negligence claim is known as ‘causation’. Causation must be proven, even if negligence is admitted, for the claim to succeed and compensation to be awarded.
Negligence and causation must be proven by supportive opinions from medical experts. We instruct experts in the same field of medicine as the negligent care to tell us whether the care that was given was of a reasonable standard. If negligence is proven, we ask medical specialists in the type of injury suffered, to confirm whether our client’s injury was caused or made worse by the negligent treatment, or would have been reduced or avoided with correct care.
In a medical negligence claim, compensation will only be paid for injuries and loss that we can prove were caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence. Once we know what mistakes were made, the next step (causation) is to identify the extent of the injury or disability that was caused by those mistakes.
Proving causation in complex medical negligence cases requires both medical expertise and understanding of the law. We often succeed in claims where NHS Resolution (the NHS’ defence organisation) has denied ‘causation’. You can read more about how we overcome difficulties with causation in complex birth injury cases.
Our medical negligence and personal injury teams have been nationally recognised for over 20 years because of their expertise, empathy and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients.
Fran has been an amazing support through a very difficult time for me and my family. Always available to speak and kept me in the loop with anything happening, she has been so kind, and I thank her so much for helping and getting my mum the justice she deserved.
What has to be some of the most testing horrible times was dealt with in a dignified, honest, approachable and truly empathetic manner. I could not begin to do Susan justice for her handling of our case.
I approached Boyes Turner after my claim was turned down by one of the Medical Negligence Claim company. My wife was a victim of medical negligence.
Boyes Turner have acted so efficiently on our behalf and was able to win our case. Anytime we contact them, their customer service was very good as they kept us fully informed of every level our case has developed. They are very friendly and approachable and great in their professional advise. I would strongly recommend anyone approach them for their legal and medical negligence services.
Thoroughly professional, knowledgable and approachable with communication and updates as and when needed, in what can be a drawn out process, I was always comfortable asking questions and always received answers which were clear and understandable. Highly recommend
I came to Boyes Turner desperate after searching the web for a firm to use for my sons case. He was only a few months so my mind was all over the place, but from the very first point of contact I felt a sense of relieve and belonging. I was welcomed and looked after by amazing staff who always communicated everything so well and went the extra mile to explain things and ensure I understood what was happening every step of the way (THANK YOU SUSAN BROWN). Susan was amazing I felt like I not only had a solicitor but someone who understood my emotions as a mother and always handled me with so much compassion and that was all I needed to keep me going for the 6 years of the case. Years went by in a breeze because of how professional Boyes Turner was. I am so greatful I went through it all with them and mananged to get my son a good compensation. We look forward our new life where my sons needs are priority after struggling for so long. Thank you Boyes Turner and thank you Susan Brown. My family and I are ever indebted.