Settlement for above-knee amputee following failure by St George's Hospital to diagnose ischaemia | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Settlement for above-knee amputee following failure by St George's Hospital to diagnose ischaemia

Jane Weakley reached settlement of £190,000 on behalf of 83-year-old Arthur* after a negligent delay in diagnosing ischemia meant he had to undergo an above-knee amputation.

Arthur had a series of complex health issues including vascular aneurysms. Two years ago, he experienced pain in his left leg and his GP advised him to attend A&E with the possibility of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Staff at A&E at St Helier's Hospital did indeed diagnose suspected DVT and advised Arthur to attend the Acute Clinical Unit the next morning, but when he did so, it was closed. Following review by Emergency Department staff, he was discharged home with a diagnosis of probable worsening of his femoral aneurysm and was recommended follow up by his treating surgeons.

Back home, Arthur remained in significant pain. An ambulance brought him to St George's Hospital A&E Unit. Following review, and as he was booked in for a vascular appointment two days later, staff made the decision to discharge him home with a diagnosis of DVT.

By this time, the pain was 'unbearable', prompting a return to St George's Hospital the next day. Upon arrival Arthur was diagnosed with an acutely ischaemic left lower leg and subsequently underwent an above-knee amputation.

Today, Arthur suffers from phantom leg pain and requires a powered wheelchair for mobility indoors and outdoors. It has been deemed unsuitable for him to use a prosthetic limb and he will have limited mobility for the rest of his life. Furthermore, Arthur now suffers with balance issues, requires assistance in all aspects of his daily life, and is no longer able to drive. He has lost his independence and is no longer able to enjoy the pastimes he once relished including gardening.

The Trust admitted that there had been a failure to carry out an adequate examination of the left leg when seen in A&E, that such examination would have identified signs of ischaemia and that there should have been a referral to the vascular team. However, it was not accepted that the left leg could have been saved and that amputation would have been inevitable in any event.

Both parties obtained and served expert vascular reports where there was disagreement about whether, on balance, the leg could have been saved. Given Arthur's advancing years and health issues, an early offer to settle was made but rejected. We issued proceedings that resulted in a negotiated settlement of £190,000 for pain and suffering, care and ongoing occupational therapy.

Following settlement, Arthur's son said:

"It will not bring my dad's leg back, but at least he has some funds to help with his ongoing care costs which he would not have without the help of Jane. Thank you for all your hard work Jane."

Jane Weakley added:

"It was important to achieve early settlement for Arthur given his advancing years and health issues. Prompt issuing of proceedings was needed to force a settlement which will go some way to providing additional care for Arthur and equipment to allow him to access his garden and shed."

* name changed

Contact us

For further information about delayed diagnosis claims and hospital negligence claims, please call Jane Weakley on 0330 460 6773 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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