If you experienced delayed or improper treatment for lower limb issues caused by diabetes, which resulted in an avoidable amputation, you may be able to make a Medical Negligence claim. Most of the time, the NHS and other healthcare companies do an excellent job looking after people with diabetes, but you shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences if your care fell short of what it should be.
There has been a huge growth in how many Medical Negligence claims are made, and the amount of compensation people have secured for avoidable diabetic lower limb amputations. Every year, the NHS receive 11,000 Medical Negligence claims with an estimated total value of £4.5 billion. In this article we’ll explain what counts as medical negligence when it comes to diabetes amputations, and how we could help you make a claim.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that can cause your blood sugar level to become too high. This can lead to nerve damage which affects the feeling in your feet and damages circulation, making it slower for cuts and sores to heal.
If you develop complications in your feet or lower limbs as a result of diabetes, it is the responsibility of medical professionals to care for you to ensure you can get access to the specialist care you need – you can read more about why quick referrals are so important for people with diabetes-related foot complications.
Why Can Diabetes Lower Limb Conditions Lead to Amputations?
People with diabetes are at more risk of developing Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which is when the vessels that carry your blood from your heart to your legs narrow.
This is one of the main causes of lower limb amputations. Most of the time, diabetic amputations will be of the toe or foot, but there may be a need to amputate the leg in some cases.
Reduced blood flow can cause ulcers and sores on your legs, feet and toes, and it can cause nerve damage, which can mean that you don’t feel any pain from these ulcers, so you continue to put weight on your foot.
This continued pressure and lack of treatment can then lead to serious infection. Your condition can make it very difficult for your body to fight the infection, meaning ulcers may not heal which can lead to tissue damage. If infections are left untreated, they can even penetrate to your bone.
Once the infection has penetrated the bone, there can sadly be no chance of reversing this damage, and unfortunately amputation can become the only option.
Medical Negligence in Diabetes Lower Limb Amputations
In a report published in June 2022, the NHS has admitted there are serious shortcomings in diabetes foot care. Sadly, 7957 major diabetic lower limb amputations were reported in England between 2017 and 2020. The NHS has reported that up to 85% of amputations are avoidable and that amputation is not an inevitable consequence of lower limb complications.
An amputation can have a devastating impact on your life, health and wellbeing. There are a number of ways medical negligence can happen around diabetes lower limb care, which can result in otherwise unnecessary amputations, such as:
- Medical staff failing to properly identify and treat symptoms, misdiagnosing diabetes-related conditions, or not identifying high-risk patients;
- Delays in assessing for PAD and managing this – e.g. by recommending ways to relieve pressure on limbs;
- Long delays in being seen by a specialist footcare team once a diabetic foot problem identified
- An over-reliance on GPs who are not specialised – and a lack of training in diabetic lower limb care for medical professionals;
- Delay in diagnosis and improper treatment of infections such as sepsis, until it is unfortunately too late, and an amputation is the only option;
- Poor aftercare following surgery resulting in an infection;
As part of your claim, we’ll need to prove that a medical professional’s actions led to the unnecessary need for your amputation, or that they could have taken action to prevent it (i.e. they were ‘negligent’). Our Medical Negligence team are experts in this field so we’ll collect all the evidence we need to secure the best possible compensation for you.
How Could Medical Negligence Compensation Help Me?
We could help you claim thousands of pounds in compensation for financial losses relating to your diabetes amputation. Compensation can give you financial security for the rest of your life and a sense of justice for the substandard treatment you received.
We’ll find out about what led to your amputation and how you’re coping now, taking into account any support and care you may need in the future.
So, what could you claim compensation for? We treat everyone on a case-by-case basis, making sure the exact amount of compensation you receive is right for you, but we’ll take into account the following factors:
- Any unnecessary pain and suffering you experienced due to medical negligence – this can include pain caused by complications/infections, and any phantom pain or discomfort with prosthetic limbs you’re experiencing after your amputation;
- Any time you’ve taken off work, which has resulted in loss of earnings. You may even have future loss of earnings if you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to return to work at all. Compensation can pay for re-training if you need a job in a new industry that doesn’t involve being on your feet for too long;
- Money you’ve spent travelling to appointments or paying for prescriptions;
- Adaptations you might need to your home or car;
- Whether you’ll need any prosthetic limbs, rehabilitation or specialised aids and adaptations;
We also know how much of a huge psychological impact an amputation can have on your life. Amputations can be traumatic and if your condition got worse very rapidly, it’s possible that you are still finding it very hard to come to terms with what happened.
It can be particularly devastating to know that something could’ve been done to prevent your amputation. If you’re struggling, taking legal action might not be your first thought, but our dedicated Medical Negligence lawyers are here to help you throughout your claim. We can also help you get access to any therapy treatment you might need.
Whether you experienced medical negligence at the GP, hospital, in the NHS or private healthcare, we could help you make a claim, as our lawyers have years of experience and a track record recovering significant amounts for you to get the support you deserve.
You have 3 years from the date of your amputation to start a medical negligence claim, and we could offer you a No Win, No Fee claim, meaning you don’t pay a penny upfront, and don’t pay us any fees unless we win your case. Get in touch with our expert team today for a Free Case Assessment.
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