Incorrect diagnosis of vascular problem led to leg amputation

Julia Smith, on behalf of Mr R. Smith, South Shields

My father, Robert Smith, had always been fit and healthy except for suffering from Psoriasis for a number of years. In 2007 he had a fall and was admitted to Sunderland Hospital. The Doctors dismissed the fall and instead said he was experiencing a Psoriasis flare up and after receiving treatment for a few days he was allowed home.

A week later, whilst at home and being looked after by relatives; my father collapsed and was again admitted to hospital. Again he was told that it was Psoriasis, even though the toes on his left foot had turned red showing signs of a vascular problem. Again, after a course of antibiotics and signs of some improvement, my father was discharged from hospital. Two days later, when the toe on my father’s left foot had turned black; he again collapsed and was rushed into hospital.

This time the family was told that my father was unlikely to survive the night, as all of his vital functions were shutting down. We spent two nights holding a vigil by his bedside but due to his sheer fighting determination he showed signs of improvement. At this point the Doctor decided to amputate my father’s leg, just below the knee. Unfortunately the infection was still present and within a week my father’s leg was operated on again to remove more of his leg. Thankfully this time the operation worked and the infection was gone.

After spending a number of months in hospital my father was finally allowed home but the whole ordeal has had a huge impact on all areas of his life and my family’s. My brother is now his full time carer and from being a very active confident man my father is now reluctant to leave the house. His lack of mobility has also led to other health issues. In many ways what my father went through has traumatised all members of my family.

My mum and I were aware that when my father was in hospital the vital signs of a vascular problem had been missed. We had spoken to the doctors and nurses about the red marks on my father’s foot however they dismissed our concerns. My mother had even written to the hospital however didn’t get a satisfactory response. We felt there was a potential negligence case to be answered and after doing some research on the internet we found Stamp, Jackson and Procter.

From the moment we made contact, Stamp, Jackson and Procter were very helpful and supportive. They kept in regular contact and made us aware of any updates on the case. We found the team very friendly and professional and they put a lot of work into winning our case. Although it took some time, we heard in December that my father had won a significant settlement thanks to Stamp, Jackson and Procter’s efforts. It was determined that had a simple Doppler test been carried out on my father’s left leg when he was first admitted to hospital it might well have been saved.

If there is anyone else unfortunate to find themselves in a similar situation to my father then I fully recommend the team at Stamp, Jackson and Procter.

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