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Written on 23rd March 2023 by Julie Marsh

Boyes Turner’s amputation claims lawyers have secured a compensation settlement of £6.4 million for a young woman who needed mid-foot (Lisfranc) amputations of both feet after ambulance paramedics failed to take her to hospital for urgent meningitis treatment.

Our client’s case had previously been rejected by other solicitors whose investigation failed to consider critical evidence from her mother’s 999 call to the ambulance service.

Ambulance crew failed to recognise symptoms of meningitis and take patient to hospital

Our client was 18 years old when her mother called NHS 111 and then the emergency service 999 and told them that her daughter was unwell with a pounding headache, vomiting, muscle pain, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and neck stiffness. When the ambulance crew arrived they advised that she should take paracetamol and increased fluids, instead of recognising red flag symptoms of meningitis and taking her to hospital for urgent treatment. If she had been taken to hospital that night, she would have been admitted and treated with IV antibiotics for suspected meningococcal sepsis and would have recovered without any lasting disability.

The next morning, after trying to make a GP appointment for her daughter, her mother noticed a small, purple mark on her neck which did not fade when pressed with a glass.  She called 999 and an ambulance took her daughter to hospital. She was given antibiotics in the ambulance on the way.  On arrival at hospital she was found to have meningococcal sepsis. She was given IV antibiotics and was admitted to ITU. She developed multi-organ failure, respiratory (breathing) problems and cardiac arrest. She needed Lisfranc amputations through her feet as a result of the lack of blood flow or perfusion to her feet. Following that long hospital admission, she has needed repeated further surgery to her legs and feet and has a risk of needing further amputations in future.

Successful claim after previous solicitors say no claim

Our client contacted us and asked us to help her claim compensation for medical negligence after her previous solicitors had investigated and rejected her claim.  We reviewed their file and found that they had based their investigation on the ambulance paramedic records but had failed to obtain vital recording/transcript evidence of our client’s mother’s call to 999 in which she had told them about her daughter’s symptoms. We requested the missing 999 call evidence, which enabled us to prove that the ambulance crew failed to respond correctly to our client’s red flag symptoms of meningitis.

We put our client’s claim to the defendant NHS ambulance trust, which admitted liability (fault) and made a formal, written apology. They admitted that if she had been taken to hospital by the first ambulance and had been admitted for treatment her meningitis infection probably would not have developed into septic shock. She would not have needed Lisfranc amputations of her feet and would have recovered without any lasting disability.

Interim payments of £250,000 and final settlement of £6.4 million

We issued court proceedings and obtained judgment for our client. We secured interim (advance) payments of compensation totalling £250,000 which paid for case management, physiotherapy and specialist prosthetics whilst we worked with her and our experts to assess the lifelong impact of her disability and the full value of her claim.

Following a meeting with the ambulance trust’s legal team, further negotiations led to a final settlement of £6.4 million for our client. Her compensation will help meet her needs arising from her lifelong disability and enable her to buy and adapt a suitable home. Our client’s compensation is protected by a personal injury trust.

"From the get go, they were absolutely amazing... Julie is an amazing woman, I could contact her as and when I needed/wanted and she was always on hand to help clarify or break down anything that I didn’t understand. She was always happy to answer my questions. If Julie wasn’t in the office her team was also on hand to help with anything I needed. Always guaranteed a fast response."

If you have suffered severe injury or disability as a result of medical negligence, or have been contacted by HSIB, HSSIB, MNSI or NHS Resolution, you can talk to one of our solicitors, free and confidentially, for advice on how to respond or make a claim, by contacting us here.