£4 million clinical negligence settlement following above-knee amputation

Case Studies

£4 million clinical negligence settlement following above-knee amputation

We recently settled a clinical negligence claim for a client who had served in the Metropolitan Police service since 2005. This was a complex claim which was settled for £4 million in damages at a joint settlement meeting. Our client suffered osteomyelitis and septic arthritis following a negligent delay in diagnosis of a knee wound infection. The condition of his knee deteriorated to the extent that he required an above-knee amputation last year. He has worked tremendously hard with his rehabilitation, and the settlement makes provision for high-quality prosthetics which will ensure a maximum level of independence.

Our client initially underwent a left knee arthroscopy and removal of metalwork from his left tibia, which had healed following a fracture. Following discharge, the surgical wound began to show increasing signs of infection, and he became systemically unwell. He attended the hospital of the first defendant, who failed to appreciate the severity of the infection, prescribing only oral antibiotics. Our client’s condition continued to deteriorate and the following week he was admitted to the hospital of the second defendant for monitoring and IV antibiotics, though there was a failure to perform timely debridement and closure of the wound. The infection did not resolve, and tracked deeper into the knee joint, causing osteomyelitis and septic arthritis. There followed multiple surgeries, and though the infection eventually resolved, our client was left with significant pain and disability in his knee. Knee replacement surgeries did not provide any lasting benefit, and in August last year he underwent an above-knee amputation as a last resort.

Partial admissions were initially made by the two defendant hospital trusts at the pre-action stage, and a significant interim payment of damages was obtained for the client to purchase a suitable prosthesis, which improved his confidence in mobilising.

Our client joined the Metropolitan Police service as a police constable. He had built up an impressive career over the years and was on track for promotion. However, due to his significant disabilities caused by the negligence, he was retired on ill-health grounds in 2018. This was a devastating loss to our client who was forced to abandon his vocation.

With our specialist knowledge and experience of police officer claims in the London clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, we undertook comprehensive quantum investigations in order to maximise our client’s compensation.

We were able to claim significant damages for our client’s loss of promotion and pension loss, evidencing these claims by obtaining a statement from our client’s Police Federation representative to corroborate his aspirations for career progression, and instructing a pension expert to prepare detailed calculations. Along with a significant claim for loss of earnings and pension loss, we claimed the cost of future care and assistance, suitable single storey adapted accommodation, and privately purchased prosthetics, along with other heads of loss. Leading counsel was instructed to advise on quantum and to represent our client at the joint settlement meeting. Following lengthy negotiations, a settlement was achieved.

Rosie Nelson, associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, said: “Our client has suffered a life-changing injury following negligent mismanagement of his knee wound infection. We are extremely pleased to have achieved this outcome for our client, and we know the significant impact it will have on his quality of life and independence.”

Our client comments: “Throughout this very complex and emotional situation I can honestly and unreservedly say that I had the full backing of the Police Federation, along with an extremely professional but empathetic legal team. Rosie Nelson, my dedicated legal representative in the London team at Penningtons Manches Cooper showed tenacity and demonstrated her extensive knowledge at all stages of the case.

It was a very difficult time for both my wife and me with so much to deal with, both on a physical level, but also probably more importantly mentally. Both the Police Federation and Penningtons Manches Cooper were aware of this and assisted in every possible way. I had a highly experienced and knowledgeable federation representative from the outset who constantly kept in contact with us both ensuring that we had support so that we knew that there was always someone to help.

Rosie handled every part of the process with transparency, updating, reassuring, and obtaining my opinion throughout, even when situations became emotionally charged. Her ability to seek the very best for me came to the fore when a difficult situation arose and a change of tack was required. This change in approach was clearly explained and the outcome undoubtedly showed her expertise in complex situations, using her calm and composed nature. I would fully recommend Penningtons Manches Cooper as a firm and especially my solicitor and her team. Thank you from both my wife and me to both the Police Federation and Penningtons Manches Cooper for all they have done to secure the best outcome for us going forward.”

If you have any concerns about orthopaedic treatment you have received, please get in touch with our specialist orthopaedic team.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP