If you believe your limb was amputated as a result of negligent medical care, we can help you understand what happened and support you with your amputation claim
Undergoing an amputation is a life changing experience both for you and for those helping to care for you. In most scenarios, amputation was carried out as a last resort and could not have been medically avoided. However, there may be some cases where earlier diagnosis and prompter treatment could have saved the limb. L&M MediLaw is led by Elizabeth Rose, an accredited specialist in medical negligence. Our personal injury solicitors will help you find out what happened and guide you through your amputation claim if you decide to seek compensation.
To discuss your amputation claims case with a lawyer who can help, call us today on 0141 471 3078 or complete our online contact form with a few brief details and we will get back to you.
I think the first thing that I would be advising a client is to speak to their treating doctors. They might have already spoken to them, but it would be good to hear from the horse’s mouth as to what happened to them and why it happened to them. And then I would be asking, have you made a complaint to the relevant health board, in some cases the GP practice and what was the outcome of that complaint?
Because the complaint process can be useful. Both for the client and for the health board, because there can be learning outcomes from the complaint which I think is useful. And also the client can get more information and understand what happened to them. Now, if they’re wanting to take things further, they may not be happy with how the complaints handled, or they may just have deep rooted concerns that they really want to seek legal advice.
And that’s absolutely fine. So the next stage would be to speak to me. And I would ask them what caused your amputation because amputation can be caused by a number of factors. It could be a complication of diabetes, peripheral arterial disease. It could be as a result of a rare form of cancer, like a sarcoma.
And so I would be asking what, what caused it. And then we would go through the chain of leading up to the amputation. I would also touch on recovery. Sometimes the clients are very early on in their recovery, or sometimes they are further down the road. So I would ask them questions and I would try and identify any part within that chain as to whether there’s something that should have happened that didn’t happen, or if something was missed and whether earlier intervention could have made a difference and saved the limb.
And I would be asking them things like, was there a physical examination done, how thorough was it, did they check the pulse is in the leg? Did they look at the colour, look at the pallor? Was your skin mottled, was it pale? And there’s a thing called the six P`s that even medical students learn about whether a limb is viable, whether there’s enough oxygen and blood going to that limb.
There are certain things that they would do during a physical examination. It may be that the person has received no examination. And unfortunately they’ve been turned away from accident and emergency, or they’d been phoning their GP and they’ve not been able to get a face-to-face appointment.
So there has, nobody’s actually set eyes on this limb, in which case that to me, would start suggesting a red flag. A next stage would be in gathering all the medical records, looking at what happened during the timeline. Taking a statement and then instructing an expert. More likely than not in the first instance, it might be something like instructing a vascular surgeon and sometimes you are better to start with the causation aspect.
So we would go with the vascular expert, we would ask them to review the medical records, review the statement and give us an opinion on whether the limb could have been saved and what could have been done to prevent amputation. And then we would probably look at the breach of duty i.e. the negligence part.
So for instance there may be an A and E nurse turning somebodyaway at A and E after doing a very scant examination. Or it could be somebody phoning their GP practice repeatedly saying they’re really worried about my leg and I’m in lots of pain, it feels tingley, it feels numb and there’s something not quite right. And that person unfortunately has never had a face-to-face exam.
They haven’t maybe asked for photos, but even photos isn’t really good enough to properly examine whether something is getting enough oxygen. S o I would be looking at things like that. And that’s where your breach of duty expert would come in and give an opinion on that.
And then if both of those reports were supportive, then you’d be looking to intimate the case to the responsible party. So that might be the health board. It might be the GP because they have their own indemnifiers and then you would await their response. They may want to robustly defend the case, in which case you’d be looking at litigation.
And then I would give you advice about how that would look. And in some cases they might want to settle the case, and then you would look at value. Now amputation cases have a profound impact on people’s lives, and it will affect your employment prospects. It’ll affect your home life. It’ll probably affect your relationships.
So that’s when I would do all my in gathering, take statements, listen to you, see how it’s impacted you. And then we would get further reports to evidence that. We could do an evaluation and put it forward to the other side. If they`re not willing to settle, or if the offer was not reasonable, then we would be looking to put it into court.
And then it would give you advice about the stages of the court process, ultimately leading up to an evidential heading where you would give evidence about what happened to you. And we would have experts give evidence as to what happened. And then the court i.e. The judge would make a decision as to whether to award compensation and at what level, if you’ve not already agreed it .And then that would be things like is your house suitable, can you still work or can you only work in a reduced capacity? So many, they have a huge psychiatric impact. And so we might have to lead a psychiatrist , by lots of people have post traumatic stress disorder, different flashbacks, nightmares triggers, and these are all things that we can go into to make sure you’re as compensated as much as you possibly can.
Ultimately I can`t make everything better and there’s a limit to what I can do, but what I can do is try and bring a successful outcome and make sure you’re compensated for your financial losses. That’s what I can do. And hopefully that responsible party learns from their mistakes. The court process can have an indirect effect in which a light is shone upon what happened and it’s aired in court , in a public forum in a public space and that can be quite cathartic for the client. Finally being able to tell their story, particularly if they felt early on they weren`t listened to, and even when they went through the complaint process they may have felt it wasn’t good enough. Or again, belittled or their problems trivialised or things like that. So this can be vindication for them, that somebody is listening to them.
And somebody taking it seriously because it is very serious. Particularly if there is negligence is even more serious because that person has gone through unnecessary medical drama that you should never have had. Thank you.
Concerns about your amputation and taking things further
If you have concerns about your amputation, you should speak to your treating doctors and ask them to explain what happened to you. You may also wish to complain if you have concerns that weren’t adequately addressed. The NHS and GP practices have complaints procedures that they follow for patients.
If you’re at a stage where you feel legal advice is necessary, L&M MediLaw will listen to you and provide accessible, clear advice on amputation claims. We’ll ask you the three W’s – ‘who’, ‘what, and ‘why’.
L&M MediLaw will assess your case and if there’s sufficient grounds to pursue a medical negligence claim, we’ll open up a case and carry out all necessary investigations.
The first stage will involve the recovery of medical records. This includes all GP records, hospital records, occupational therapy and physiotherapy records.
Taking your statement
Next, we take a detailed statement from you with reference to the medical records.
Getting the opinion of an independent expert
If required, we’ll instruct a suitable independent expert to comment on the actions of the professionals involved and whether their actions (or inactions) resulted in the amputation.
Intimating the claim
If expert opinion suggests negligence, a claim will be intimated (sent) to either the GP or the Health Board which employed either the nurse or doctor involved. L&M Medilaw will also make sure all financial aspects to your losses are addressed including the requirement of future care, specialist prosthetics and equipment/housing needs.
The Claims Process
Finally, depending on the response of the at fault medical professional or their representative, L&M MediLaw will either enter into settlement negotiations on your behalf or give you advice on further steps including the appropriateness or otherwise of proceeding with a Court Action.
Whatever happens L&M Medilaw will support you through the legal journey of making an amputation claim and will strive to maximise any compensation due to you.
Coming to terms with amputation and medical negligence is difficult, so we strive to make getting the legal care you need simple. When you have been failed by a medical professional, L&M MediLaw can support you with compassionate, professional legal services. We have offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh city centre and serve clients all across Scotland.
To discuss your amputation case with a lawyer you can trust, call us today on 0141 471 3078 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you right away.