£1.5m for man who lost leg through blunders at Yorkshire hospital

A GRANDFATHER has been awarded £1.5m in compensation after blunders at a Yorkshire hospital led to him having his lower left leg amputated.

JOHN HALLIDAY: Confined to wheelchair and had to give up work as health and safety consultant.
JOHN HALLIDAY: Confined to wheelchair and had to give up work as health and safety consultant.

John Halliday, 59, is now confined to a wheelchair in the wake of failures by doctors at Bradford Royal Infirmary to diagnose a serious infection which later spread to other parts of his body including his spine, leaving him with “devastating” injuries.

He has been forced to give up work as a health and safety consultant and is now heavily reliant on help from carers in adapted accommodation. He has been warned a combination of earlier and more recent illnesses is likely to cut his life short.

In an out-of-court settlement, he has been awarded compensation after the hospital admitted liability for negligence in delays in diagnosing and treating septic arthritis which would have avoided the amputation.

Mr Halliday said he felt he had been “abandoned” by the NHS.

There had been a “catalogue of errors” in his care but it was only a year after he first fell ill that he realised mistakes had been made.

“It’s unbelievable, it really is,” he said. “I’m in a wheelchair. I have carers in every day and they have to do most things for me. I’m not able to work – and can make a cup of tea and a sandwich and that’s about the limit nowadays.

“At first I was very angry but I’ve had to accept what’s happened and make the best of the hand I’ve been dealt.

“It is a large sum of money but it doesn’t bring back the life I had.”

The father-of-two, a former psychiatric nurse before setting up his own business, had suffered from gout attacks for years which left him bedridden but had never needed hospital treatment until 2008 when he began suffering serious problems linked to his left ankle.

He was examined by doctors at Bradford Royal Infirmary who wrongly told him he was suffering from cellulitis and an allergic reaction to medication.

He was given antibiotics but did not undergo an early surgical washout of the ankle to eradicate the infection which can damage vital cartilage. It was not for another 10 days that he was given the correct diagnosis of septic arthritis which had led to toxic shock syndrome and kidney failure.

Despite the joint being washed out four times and again two months later, the efforts proved too late and he was told he needed a below-the-knee amputation.

But before the operation could take place, he was readmitted to the hospital in January 2009 where tests showed the infection had spread to his lungs and spine.

His leg was amputated two weeks later but his other problems continued, leaving him with severe curvature of his spine.

Owing to the back problems, he was unable to walk using a prosthetic leg and cannot even move short distance on crutches. He suffers from severe back pain and phantom pain in his missing leg.

He has now been forced to move from his home in Clayton, Bradford, where he was a regular spectator of the city’s rugby league and football teams and a keen fishermen, to live closer to his family in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

Surgeons who examined the case agreed if he had kept his leg, his ability to get around would have been improved and he would have been able to become mobile earlier, which would have reduced his spinal problems.

Mealla Logue, of MPH Solicitors of Manchester, who represented Mr Halliday, said the negligence had led to “devastating” injuries.

A Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “We are deeply sorry for the distress Mr Halliday has experienced as a result of the care he received at our hospital. The care we provided fell below our usual high standards and we sincerely apologise to Mr Halliday for this.”