Amputation Negligence Claims Against the NHS Increase by 75% Within a Decade: FOI Investigation Reveals

Drawing on figures obtained via Freedom of Information requests from NHS Resolution (a government body responsible for managing medical claims against NHS Trusts), 122 amputation negligence claims were settled in 2018/2019.

This was the highest annual figure recorded in a decade—representing a 75% increase from 70 negligence claim settlements in the 2009/2010 period.

Number of Settled/Closed NHS Amputation Claims

The figures show a concerning trend that raised safety issues in NHS Trusts.

Period of SettlementNumber of NHS Amputation Negligence Claims Settled

The investigation discovered that the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust each recorded a high of 20 amputation negligence claim settlements within the 10 years. Another 28 NHS Trusts were shown to have at least 10 cases over the decade.

In response to the figures, the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust—via its medical director, Dr Jennifer Hill—claimed that they tend to around 2 million patients with conditions that put them at risk of amputations every year.

Dr Hill added, “We will have reviewed every one of the small number of cases where there has been an unexpected outcome over the past 10 years to ensure we continually learn and make changes where necessary to limit the chances of it happening again where possible.”

Similarly, the Nottingham University Hospital Trust spokesperson pointed to the health institution’s busy schedule as a major East Midlands trauma centre. Other Trusts such as the Nottingham University Hospital Trust said they could not offer a response at the time.

With such figures, coupled with the debilitating effects of amputations on a person’s quality of life, it is only normal for patients to feel concerned as seek further information on which medical mistakes lead to avoidable amputations and to make amputation negligence claims.

Amputations Resulting From NHS Mistakes

There are several instances whereby an amputation may occur following a medical mistake or negligence by a healthcare provider. They include:

  • Failure to identify common symptoms and diagnose serious conditions or health problems, leading to amputations. Some diseases that may necessitate amputations when misdiagnosed include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), meningitis, cancer, and encephalitis.
  • Poor hygiene or delayed treatment may lead to sepsis or severe infections. This includes bone marrow infections (osteomyelitis) and some skin infections (cellulitis).
  • Surgical errors such as performing joint replacement negligently, operating on the wrong place, or on the wrong limb.
  • Poor treatment of bone fractures
  • Failure to properly manage peripheral neuropathy (especially in diabetic patients), among other clinical errors.

In once case, after a hospital delayed the diagnosis and treatment of a severe skin infection, 49-year-old Wendy Hackett was forced to undergo a limb amputation due to the severe pain.

The NHS Trust in question admitted to mistakes in her care in 2015, but attempted to shift the blame for her amputation. Regardless, she was compensated in 2019—with the sum helping her “purchase suitable accommodation, cope without an income and to be able to afford the care she may require in later life.”

These mistakes and cases of negligence can have long-term debilitating effects on a person’s everyday activities. Yet they can be avoidable if the healthcare provider takes reasonable care to prevent injury.

The Physical and Emotional Burden of Avoidable Amputations

Amputation of limbs and/or digits is a traumatic experience that can cause considerable physical and emotional pain for a patient and his or her family. Some of the challenges that may arise include:

  • Loss of function.
  • Negative impact on work-life quality, depending on your occupation.
  • Ongoing pain in the affected or surrounding region.
  • Mental and physical effort to adjust to the new reality.
  • Emotional trauma and personal distress—including feeling self-conscious.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Further tissue damage in the affected region.
  • The financial burden of therapy, medications, adapted accommodation, prosthetic limbs, and future care.

Nick Grant, the head of clinical negligence at Devonshires Claims stated:

“The information provided as a result of this request shows an unexpected and frankly worrying trend. Behind each of these amputations, there is an individual and a family whose life is suddenly turned upside down. There is a physical, emotional and financial impact, and an amputation is generally just the start of a long and difficult road ahead, which may include surgery, rehabilitation loss of employment and so much more.”

Making Amputation Negligence Claims

If you believe that your healthcare provider has let you down and caused an avoidable amputation, you could make a potential amputation negligence claim. The compensation awarded may help you get your life back on track by funding treatment and reducing financial stresses.

The level of compensation for amputation negligence claims depends on several factors such as how the injury happened, the type of amputation, and the financial implications of the medical mistake.

If you’re not sure about how to go about making an amputation negligence claim, our specialist – No Win No Fee- medical negligence solicitors can help you prepare your case. It is important that you seek assistance as soon as possible so that you can receive answers and get the help and financial support that may be available to you.

Our medical negligence claims experts have helped clients obtain significant payouts for the pain and suffering, corrective surgery or treatment required, rehabilitation costs and loss of earnings amongst other losses. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Call us on 0333 900 8787, email or complete our online form.

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