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Inadequate Treatment Leads to Amputation

£3,900 damages recovered from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in a claim arising from clinical negligence.

Damages were obtained for a client who had suffered as a result of a failure to treat his serious finger laceration on an emergency basis.  

Rather than treating the client’s injuries, the trust sent him away and asked him to return for an appointment at a later date. As a result, the tip of his little finger had to be amputated.   

On 21 January 2012, the client suffered a workplace injury whilst using machinery. He attended the accident & emergency department at West Middlesex University Hospital, where the attending doctor referred him to the Royal Free Hospital to meet with a Plastic Surgeon. The client was advised that he needed urgent attention from a specialist. 

On the same day, the client attended the Royal Free Hospital and was seen by a nurse. The nurse checked the client’s finger and recorded that the blood continued to circulate to the tip of his finger. It was explained to the client that he would need to undergo a procedure whereby his nail was removed and re-attached after his wound was sutured. He signed a consent form on the same day, for a procedure to repair the laceration to his right little finger and to repair the nail bed. 

Unfortunately the procedure did not take place. The client was advised that he should return for an appointment on 24 January 2012. 

The medical records, on that day, recorded that there was a 60% circumferential laceration involving the nail bed.   

The client was admitted on 24 January 2012 for surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was again cancelled by the hospital, the wound was re-dressed and he was told to return on 25 January 2012.  

He attended hospital on 25 January 2012. By this stage there was extensive damage to the finger and the skin flap had become necrotic. The nail bed was debrided and the finger was amputated to the second knuckle. The surgeon told him that his finger had been in much poorer condition than he expected and that the other staff had not made it clear to him how severe the injury was. The surgeon reportedly said that by the time he met with our client there was no choice but to depart from the planned procedure and remove the top of the finger.

Longden Walker & Renney were instructed to investigate the amputation claim. 

Our Mr Lowther obtained medical records and prepared a witness statement.  

A detailed letter of claim was prepared, on the basis of the medical records and served on the defendant.

It alleged that the defendant failed to treat the client’s injury as an emergency and, as a result, the client had required amputation of the top section of his right little finger. The defendant responded offering damages of £3,500, which, after negotiations, was increased to £3,900. The client accepted the defendant’s out of court settlement proposals.  

Please contact John Lowther on 0191 5666 500 or email if you would like to discuss a medical negligence claim concerning a delay in treatment. 

If you would prefer, you can complete our short enquiry form and one of our medical negligence solicitors will contact you.