Fieldfisher was instructed by Dr K who had developed a painful bunion in his left big toe and a deformity in the second toe on the same foot. He was aged 62, by which time this had started to affect his ability to walk and work as a doctor in private practice. He initially went to the Royal Gloucester Hospital where he was informed that the surgery would mean that he would have a long period of recovery.
He was then referred by his podiatrist to the podiatric surgeon Mr X, to advise on any alternative surgical treatment. During the subsequent discussions, K and his wife, J, were led to believe that Mr X was able to perform a new surgical technique and they were informed that the post-operative recovery would be much shorter. K left the meeting believing that by paying privately he would be receiving better care.
The surgery took place in June 2006. The bunion in the big toe was corrected by metatarsal osteotomy with internal fixation and the second toe was amputated. There was a dispute about why the toe had been amputated and whether it was infected as at the initial appointment a different procedure had been planned.
K was discharged from hospital on the same day after the operation. At home he followed the post-operative instructions. He was expecting to get back to work within two or three weeks. In fact, he did not get better but got worse. He developed ongoing problems in the left foot because of the surgery and it was later discovered that the internal fixation had fallen apart. This resulted in the foot healing in a deformed position.
It was claimed his business failed because of the surgical negligence and there were catastrophic consequences to him and also to his family. He became very depressed and developed other medical problems. K had not yet earned a profit on his business prior to the negligence. K also had pre-existing co morbidities and subsequent to the negligence he developed a number of further problems, some of which we were able to able to attribute to a pain disorder. A significant proportion of the value of the claim related to care and loss of earnings.
K instructed fieldfisher Solicitors to investigate his claim. After obtaining expert evidence from orthopaedic and podiatric surgeons. Mr X defended the claim but made a very low offer of £22,500 to settle early on. This offer was subsequently repeated several times.
Sadly K died in April 2012, due to an unrelated event, shortly before trial. His wife carried on his case after his death. The claim continued to be defended by Mr X, but a successful settlement of £200,000 was obtained which included loss of earnings, care and other expenses incurred whilst K was alive.
At the end of the case, J commented
"Our Solicitor genuinely cared. There many complexities to navigate and she left no stone unturned. It was a very difficult time for the family and we could speak with her openly at all stages of the case. My husband and I were heartened by her tenacity and her personal touch."
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