James Wollacott dislocated his knee and ruptured an artery while trampolining in May 2003. He underwent emergency surgery to save his leg, which left him with open wounds. Tests on the wounds revealed that there was a superficial infection caused by staphylococcus aureus.
It was then found that, in addition, James had ruptured the ligaments in his knee and that further surgery would be required.
Instead of waiting for the superficial infection to clear and the open wounds (from the emergency operation) to heal, a ligament reconstruction was carried out.
This surgery opened up the knee and allowed the infection to develop in the knee. This resulted in an abscess forming behind the knee, which had to be drained.
It was alleged that this drain acted as a portal for the superbug MRSA to get into the knee. James became severely unwell and suffered with MRSA septicaemia.
As a consequence of the MRSA infection, James needed several procedures to clean out the infection and a number of operations to try to repair his knee.
The surgical treatment has so far been unsuccessful. James has been left with an unstable right knee and a limp. There is permanent numbness in the outside of his ankle and over his foot. It is likely that he will need a total knee replacement within twenty years.
James was a keen sportsman before the accident. His sporting activities are now significantly restricted and he has been unable to return to his work as an electrical engineer. James suffered psychologically as a result of his physical injuries.
Samantha Critchley acted for James in a claim against St Mary’s Hospital. She argued that the knee ligament repair, which was not an emergency operation, should have been postponed to allow James to recover. James would not have contracted MRSA and the primary ligament reconstruction would have been a success. The case was strenuously defended right up to trial in May 2009. An offer of £400,000 was made by the defendant a week before trial, which James accepted.
"Samantha was very clear from the outset of my claim that she thought my chances of success were slim and that very few cases like mine had had a successful outcome. However, she is an astute lawyer and her determination to achieve her goal, regardless of the odds, make her a formidable opponent.
Samantha is very focused, and, despite tough opposition from the NHS lawyers, robustly stood her ground demanding explanations and exposing contradictions in their defences. After 3 years of difficult negotiations, her skill and perseverance culminated in a very satisfactory out of court settlement".
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