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Error costs health trust £1.2million and a man to lose his leg

Posted in: Medical Negligence Road Traffic Accidents 

A healthcare trust has been billed over £1million after a former patient sued over the loss of his leg. Following a relentless legal battle, Edward Appleby has won a six-figure settlement over the treatment he received at North Devon District Hospital in 2005, which he blames for the loss of his leg. Even though Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has not admitted liability for negligence, they apologised for having incomplete documentation on his care following a road traffic accident. It was heard that the hospital failed to find the majority of his medical notes.

The trust offered Mr Appleby (40) a six-figure settlement, which combined with legal costs, amounted to an estimated figure of £1.2million to be paid out by the trust. Mr Appleby had been a climber, Territorial Army reservist and former triathlete before his personal injury, and had also become a qualified osteopath with his own practice at Dulverton. He is now unable to work due to his injuries.

“Screaming in agony”

Mr Appleby said that he was surprised to find the trust putting the loss of his leg and a seven-figure payout down to a problem with paperwork. He told the court that the morning after one of his leg operations he had been left “screaming in agony” for hours because the blood supply to his leg had been cut off. He said that his pleas for help were ignored until 20:15 that night when he finally underwent emergency surgery. As a result, he lost part of his leg, which was later fully amputated.

As part of his legal claim, orthopaedic consultant and independent expert, Professor John Fairclough said: “In my opinion… the standard of management fell below that of a reasonably competent practitioner in failing to diagnose a compartment syndrome”.

The trust apologised for “the incomplete documentation surrounding his care” but argued that the quality of care he received was of a high quality.

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