Case study: £120,000 for failure to diagnose a serious blood clot, resulting in amputation

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Our medical negligence solicitors helped a woman claim compensation after hospital staff failed to diagnose a serious blood clot in her leg, resulting in an above-knee amputation.

Pre-existing health issues

Prior to the negligence, our client, Katie, had suffered significant back degeneration that had meant several spinal surgeries over the years.

As a result of her spinal issue, she had immobility, had begun to put on weight and suffered from peripheral vascular issues. She would also suffer from regular leg infections called cellulitis and had a condition called lymphedema which caused significant swelling to her legs. As a result, Katie would regularly visit a nurse at her GP surgery to have her legs bandaged.

Visit to GP and hospital with severe leg pain

In July, Katie attended a routine appointment with a practice nurse at her GP surgery and it was noted that her right foot was a slightly purple colour. A Doppler scan (a non-invasive scan that can show blood flow) was performed and pulses were confirmed to be present.

Over the next few weeks, Katie visited her GP on several occasions with increasing pain, discolouration and swelling in her right foot and calf. By mid-July, the pain increased in severity. She saw an out-of-hours GP who said she should attend her local hospital to rule out Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Katie attended hospital and was told there was no DVT. No further investigations were completed to identify the cause of her pain.

The following day, Katie was seen by a nurse at her GP surgery and, due to the pain in her right leg, a GP was called. They noted she was suffering from excruciating pain in her right leg, inability to weight bear, cramping pains on walking and an inability to hear the pulses within her right leg, even using a Doppler.

The GP wanted to send her for a further scan, despite only having one two days before. It was concluded that if that was negative, she needed to urgently see a vascular surgeon to assess her right leg.

A scan was completed and the hospital confirmed there was no DVT but she was suffering from cellulitis; a condition she regularly experienced.

Over the next few days, Katie’s pain became so severe that she couldn’t weight bear at all and called for a GP to visit her at home. A nurse came to her home and noted significant swelling and redness in her right lower leg with occasional numbness in the right foot with swelling and pain. She struggled to raise her right leg and there was cellulitis present on his foot and ankle. Arrangements were made for admission to a hospital to see a vascular surgeon.

Delayed diagnosis of a blocked artery

Following assessment by the vascular surgeons at the hospital, severe ischaemia of the right foot was diagnosed. Scans showed that Katie’s popliteal artery was blocked and therefore no blood was getting to her foot and lower leg. She was transferred to a bigger hospital where they tried to remove the blockage (a clot). Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful, and she required an above knee amputation as the right lower leg was no longer viable.

Medical staff had failed to diagnose the blockage and reduced blood flow in Katie’s foot as they had focused their efforts on the leg instead.

Factoring in pre-existing conditions into the claim for medical negligence

This was an incredibly complex case as Katie, unfortunately, would have required an above-knee amputation of both legs within her lifetime in any event due to the severity of her pre-existing medical conditions. Her life expectancy was also considerably reduced as a result.

However, although both legs would sadly have been amputated at some point in the future, the negligence resulted in her right leg being amputated prematurely.


Liability was denied by both Defendants in this case (the GP and the local hospital). They stated that, because of our client’s pre-existing health conditions, it was difficult for them to make a diagnosis, and had the blood clot been diagnosed earlier, by the time she had been seen at a hospital, the leg would have needed amputation in any event.

However, as the trial approached, offers were made and a settlement meeting took place.

This was an incredibly complex case, but our medical negligence lawyers secured a settlement of £120,000 after taking into account the issues with life expectancy, Katie’s prognosis for both legs and also the litigation risk given that neither Defendant had made any admissions.

This compensation allowed Katie to pay off the remainder of her mortgage, sell her house and move to a much more accessible bungalow. She was able to purchase an automatic wheelchair which meant she was able to regain some of her independence.

Get in touch with our amputation claim solicitors

Our expert team has a wealth of experience acting for clients who have suffered from amputation and loss of limb as the result of medical negligence.

If you or a loved one has had an amputation as the result of negligent medical treatment, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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