Big payout after hospital blunder cost man his leg

Medical negligence at a West Yorkshire hospital led to a man losing his right leg in an amputation that should never have been necessary.

Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) has admitted liability and agreed a seven-figure compensation package with the man, who has not been named, after failing to appropriately resolve an infection which developed after routine knee replacement surgery.

The 52-year-old man, from Bradford, had initially undergone a right knee replacement in 
2005 due to advanced osteoarthritis, a condition that affects 
the joints, but the problems persisted.

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His surgeon diagnosed that he had completely worn the knee joint and a second knee replacement operation was carried out in December 2006.

When the knee continued to swell and the man started to suffer from fainting and hot sweats, he attended BRI, was given antibiotics and sent home.

At a clinic appointment days later he was still in pain so he was given intravenous antibiotics and an arthroscopic washout of his right knee.

In the following months, his knee regularly gave way.

Despite wearing a knee brace, he was unable to walk or do 
everyday tasks, forcing him to resign from his job as an HGV mechanic.

Abscesses developed on his knee and an operation to remove them took place in March 2009.

At this stage, swabs indicated the presence of deep longstanding infections which had been present for at least two years after the second knee replacement at BRI in 2006.

The man underwent another procedure, to remove the infected prosthesis and treat the infection with antibiotics before the 
knee joint was replaced but his muscle tissue and ligaments 
were so badly damaged that his best long-term chance of improving his quality of life, he was 
told, was to have his leg amputated.

The amputation was carried out above his right knee in March 2011.

By then the patient had instructed Morrish Solicitors to pursue a claim for medical negligence against BRI and the subsequent investigation found that a microbiology test result from the washout in January 2007 had been positive but the result had been filed and no action taken.

A medical expert ruled that had the hospital acted on these results, the correct procedure would have been to reopen and clean the knee within one month of the second knee replacement in 2006 and 
the prosthesis would have been saved.

There was a complete failure by BRI to provide a reasonable standard of treatment and care to the patient, Morrish Solicitors said.

His solicitor, Jane McBennett, said: “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.”

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 now I 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.”