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Boyes Turner’s amputation lawyers have secured a £950,000 settlement for a 60-year-old man after delays in diagnosis and treatment of Charcot foot left him needing a below knee amputation. Our client had diabetes and a history of foot problems, including reduced sensation (neuropathy) and ulceration. This meant that he was at increased risk of losing his feet from complications of minor injury. His amputation followed multiple missed opportunities by practitioners at his GP surgery and a hospital radiology (x-ray) department to refer him for specialist foot care and to diagnose his condition.

Nurse practitioner failed to treat sprained ankle and foot as a diabetic foot care emergency

Our client twisted his foot as he stepped from a kerb. His foot and ankle swelled up and he requested a GP appointment. He was given an appointment with a nurse practitioner five days later. The nurse noted that he had limped into the surgery and had swelling, restricted movement and redness in his foot and ankle but little pain as he suffered from neuropathy. She diagnosed a sprained ankle joint and cellulitis (skin infection) and prescribed antibiotics. Despite her diagnosis of cellulitis, in a diabetic patient with neuropathy and at greater risk from infection, she failed to treat his condition as a diabetic foot care emergency and refer him for urgent specialist assessment. 

X-ray showed signs of Charcot foot but was reported normal  

Our client’s foot and ankle remained swollen, but when he consulted surgery staff again, he was told to expect his foot to take six weeks to heal. During this time he was told to elevate his foot and was given anti-inflammatory medication. After six weeks of pain and swelling he was referred for an x-ray. The x-ray images revealed significant abnormalities in his foot which should have been clear signs of Charcot foot. The x-ray was reported as showing ‘no acute bony injury’ and was noted in the GP records as normal.  No further action was taken. 

Our client tried to put up with his symptoms but months later was seen by his GP who noted marked deterioration in his foot, massive swelling, heat and redness in his skin. The GP diagnosed cellulitis and prescribed antibiotics but failed to treat our client as a diabetic foot care emergency, or to refer him for urgent specialist assessment. 

New GP makes urgent referral leading to diagnosis – Charcot foot too advanced to avoid amputation

When our client registered with a new GP after moving house, his new GP referred him for physiotherapy and podiatry, then to a new hospital for x-rays and further investigation. A provisional diagnosis of Charcot arthropathy was made following the x-rays and confirmed by the hospital’s foot and ankle service.  Our client was given an Air cast boot to immobilise and support his foot and prevent further injury. He  developed an ulcer and was treated by intravenous antibiotics for infection but needed a below knee amputation. 

Claiming compensation following amputation

We pursued a claim for our client against two GPs and the nurse practitioner who had failed to treat him as a diabetic foot care emergency and refer him for specialist care, and against the NHS Trust responsible for the incorrectly reported x-ray. Our medical experts believed that these negligent failings led to our client suffering an amputation which would have been avoided with earlier diagnosis and correct treatment.  

The case against the nurse practitioner and the NHS Trust settled after lengthy negotiations in the lead up to trial for a compensation payment of £950,000. Our client’s claim included compensation for his pain and suffering, partial loss of earnings, extra care, increased accommodation costs, equipment and therapies. Prior to settlement interim payments paid for bespoke prosthetic limbs, including a water activity limb enabling him to return to his former hobby of kayaking. 

If you have suffered or are expecting to undergo an amputation as a result of negligent medical care and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email at mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.