Fletchers Solicitors
Serious Injury and Medical Negligence
Make a Claim

When delayed diagnosis becomes devastating

When delayed diagnosis becomes devastating

October 29, 2020

With expert input from specialist medical negligence solicitor, Iain Dodd

 

The importance of an accurate and speedy diagnosis of limb ischaemia has been highlighted by Iain Dodd, Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor, after a recent case which resulted in a man losing his leg after medics misdiagnosed him time and time again.

Here we outline when a delayed diagnosis has life changing consequences and what to be aware of.

Missing a medical emergency

The importance of an accurate and speedy diagnosis of limb ischaemia has been highlighted by Iain Dodd, Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor, after a recent case which resulted in a man losing his leg after medics misdiagnosed him time and time again.

The client went to his GP and his local hospital’s A&E department several times over the course of a fortnight and he was told he had tendonitis and sent home.

In fact, he was suffering from acute limb ischaemia which is a sudden decrease in arterial blood flow to a limb. It is classed as a medical emergency as it can lead to extensive tissue necrosis, which may ultimately result in limb amputation, or even death.

For these reasons, it needs to be treated as a matter of medical urgency. However, for our client, the delayed diagnosis sadly resulted in an above knee amputation being required which should have been avoided.

Issuing an incorrect diagnosis

The man, who was 44 at the time, first went to the A&E department of his local hospital as he had been suffering from pain in the right foot and lower leg for two days. He was examined but there was no redness in his leg and no signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis, so he was sent home.

A week later he contacted his GP as the pain in his right leg had become worse. He was told that he had Achilles tendonitis. Within a couple of days he had to go back to hospital by ambulance as the pain was so bad. Despite the paramedic and the triage nurse both noting that his foot was cold to touch, and he told them it was tender, bruised and losing sensation, the examining doctor again incorrectly diagnosed tendonitis.

Three days later he attended a different hospital and this time he was sent to undergo a vascular review immediately. After several procedures and examinations were carried out, he was advised that he needed a below knee amputation which was carried out a couple of days later. Unfortunately, this was converted to an above knee amputation one month later as the wound failed to heal successfully.

“Medics are known to work hard whilst being under great pressure but that should not be a barrier to patients receiving adequate treatment and questioning the diagnosis made.”

The importance of seeking immediate medical attention

Iain commented: “The amputation had a huge impact on our client’s life; it turned his world upside down. As well as not being able to take part in his usual hobbies, he lost his independence and needed help with daily living activities.

“It is important to obtain immediate medical attention when suffering a new onset of significant pain. In this instance, our client did what anyone should do and he sought medical assistance. Unfortunately, his assessment was inadequate. If he had been treated correctly on the first, or even the second occasion at the hospital, his amputation would have been completely avoided and he would have undergone a vascular procedure and made a full recovery within a few months.

“This injury has had a devastating impact on his life. Our client was acutely aware that there was something not right with his leg but he was incorrectly diagnosed a number of times.

“This case highlights the importance of being vigilant; both as a patient and as a medical professional. Medics are known to work hard whilst being under great pressure but that should not be a barrier to patients receiving adequate treatment and questioning the diagnosis made.”

What to watch out for

There are 6 primary signs of acute limb ischaemia for specialists, and patients, to be aware of. In the medical field, they are known as the six Ps:

  • Pallor
  • Pain
  • Paraesthesia
  • Paralysis
  • Pulselessness
  • Perishable with cold

 

Here we explain the 6 P’s in more detail.

The right to seek justice following a medical mistake

Under Iain’s representation it was alleged that had the hospital provided an appropriate standard of care, the acute limb ischaemia would have been diagnosed and prompt vascular surgical intervention would have been undertaken to restore circulation to the right leg. If this had happened, he would have allegedly made a full and uneventful recovery and been fully independent within four months of treatment.

Despite liability being heavily disputed by the hospital’s lawyers, Fletchers Solicitors secured our client a seven-figure settlement in an out of court round table meeting.

If you believe you have been misdiagnosed, or your medical treatment has been wrong, please contact Fletchers Serious Injury for advice. You have the right to seek justice following a medical mistake, particularly of this magnitude; and it is important to work with a team who understand the impact this will have on all areas of your life.

Recent posts