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Amputation from peripheral ischaemia

In its recent report, The Rising Cost of Clinical Negligence: Who Pays The Price? The Medical Protection Society (MPS) lists peripheral ischaemia amongst the top five areas of GP practice giving rise to substantial medical negligence claims.

The MPS is one of the leading providers of professional protection and indemnity to doctors and healthcare practitioners, and this finding is based upon its own claims data. Specifically, the claims related to failure or delay in diagnosis and inadequate treatment of peripheral ischaemia, a condition which occurs when the blood flow to a limb is restricted by a narrowing or blockage of the arteries. What makes these claims so expensive is the devastating impact of the condition which, if unrecognised and inadequately treated, can lead to ulceration, gangrene and ultimately the loss of a limb.

Diabetics (both type 1 and 2) are at increased risk, with peripheral arterial disease currently affecting 1 in 3 people with diabetes over the age of 50. However, population studies have found that 20% (that’s 1 in 5) of all adults over the age of 60 have some degree of peripheral arterial disease. Smoking, diabetes and coronary artery disease increases the risk in people of any age.

The classic presentation of acute limb ischaemia is sometimes known as the 6Ps:-

  • Pain – when the limb is at rest, although limb pain on walking may indicate intermittent claudication, an early, treatable sign of peripheral arterial disease
  • Pallor – an acutely ischaemic limb is often white when compared to the other limb. Abnormally pink, blue, mottled or black discolouration can suggest more chronic or advanced ischaemia
  • Paraesthesia – abnormal sensation such as pins and needles or numbness
  • Paralysis – an advanced sign indicating an element of irreversible ischaemia
  • Perishingly cold – when compared to the other limb
  • Pulselessness – where ischaemia is suspected, arterial Doppler signals should be checked.

At Boyes Turner we are experienced in helping people who have suffered amputation as a result of delayed treatment of peripheral ischaemia, either by their GP or in hospital. Our expert medical negligence lawyers work with medical experts to investigate the cause of the disability. Where liability is established we can obtain compensation to provide rehabilitation, prosthetics, specialist equipment and adaptations to your car and home, replace lost earnings and help restore mobility, independence and self esteem.

In a recent case we secured a six figure compensation payment for a 65 year old man who needed an above knee amputation following delayed treatment of a large popliteal aneurysm.

In another recent case our amputation claims specialists secured an admission of liability and an NHS apology for a 68 year old man with a history of thrombosis and popliteal vascular disease whose inadequate anticoagulation treatment during surgery led to limb ischaemia and a below knee amputation. We are now working with experts to assess the full value of his claim.

If you have suffered an amputation as a result of medical negligence, call us 0800 029 4684 or email [email protected].

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought. This news story comes from publicly available sources. Where it concerns one or more of our clients this is clearly stated.

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