A man has been awarded a seven-figure sum in compensation after staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary failed to deal with the development of an infection following a knee replacement, which led to him having his right leg amputated above the knee.
The man, 52, from Bradford, initially underwent a right knee replacement in August 2005, after being informed by the specialists at Bradford Royal Infirmary that he had advanced osteoarthritis.
The problems persisted and his surgeon confirmed that he had completely worn the knee joint and would require a further total knee replacement, which was carried out in December 2006.
The knee continued to swell following the second knee replacement and the man started to suffer from fainting and hot sweats at regular intervals, so on 30 December 2006 his wife called an ambulance and he was taken to Accident and Emergency at Bradford Royal Infirmary. He was examined and given antibiotics and sent home.
At a clinic appointment a few days later his leg was still painful, warm and swollen and he was admitted to hospital where he received intravenous antibiotics and an arthroscopic washout of his right knee. His surgeon informed him that there was no more treatment available and he would have to accept his symptoms. He was discharged from Consultant care
In the following months, the man’s knee regularly gave way and was painful and swollen which led to him suffering a number of minor accidents. Despite wearing a knee brace, he was unable to walk any distance or perform everyday tasks, and he had to resign from his job as an HGV mechanic. He developed a series of abscesses on his knee for which his GP prescribed him antibiotics but his knee remained angry and red.
In March 2009 he underwent surgery to remove a further abscess. Swabs were taken which indicated the presence of deep long standing infections. It was confirmed that the infections had been present for at least 2 years following the revision surgery that was carried out in December 2006.
In May and July 2009 the man underwent a revision procedure which involved removing the infected prosthesis, inserting a concrete spacer infused with antibiotics to clear the infection and then replacing the knee joint. Sadly the infection had caused too much damage to his muscle tissue and ligaments and the male was left with a knee that was weak and painful and was considerably disabled. He was advised by the hospital that there was no further surgical treatment which was likely to improve the function of the knee and that even wearing a specialist brace and undergoing more pain management would probably only result in marginal improvement. His best long-term chance of improving his quality of life and possibly even getting back to work was to have an above knee amputation, which was carried out in March 2011.
Morrish Solicitors made a claim for compensation
The man, who was suffering financial hardship because he was unable to work, contacted Morrish Solicitors in 2009 to pursue a claim for medical negligence against the hospital.
During the course of the investigation it transpired that a microbiology test result from the washout in January 2007 had tested positive but the result had been filed and no action taken.
A leading medical expert advised that had the hospital acted on these results, the correct procedure would have been to reopen and clean the knee within 1 month of the operation on 14 December and the knee replacement would have been saved. This would have enabled the man to return to his employment and to lead a normal life. The second replacement procedure and lengthy hospital stay would have been avoided, along with the 2 years of intervening pain and final leg amputation.
There was a complete failure by Bradford Royal Infirmary to provide a reasonable standard of treatment and care to the patient.
The hospital admitted liability and offered an initial settlement figure, which was rejected. This was later increased at a joint settlement meeting.
The man said: “My disability has had a very detrimental effect on my quality of life. I used to be very active, having previously played semi-professional football, but am now no longer able to do so and require help and support from my family in order to undertake daily tasks.
Hopefully, this compensation will help me be more independent than at present and allow me to purchase single floor accommodation which is properly adapted to meet my needs. It will also help to provide me with a new limb and recover some of the quality of life I have lost.”
Compensation will provide a better quality of life
Jane McBennett of Morrish Solicitors, who acted on behalf of the man stated: “This client consulted us because he was at the end of his tether. Having worked hard all his life he now found himself in the position where he was in serious financial difficulty. He had pursued a complaint against the hospital and his MP had taken up the matter on his behalf. Unfortunately the hospital never admitted their mistake and it was only as a result of these proceedings that the truth emerged and we were able to successfully pursue a claim for compensation. Whilst I am of course delighted that we have been able to secure a sound financial future for my client and his wife, he has had to pay a terrible price.”
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