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Brave Leg Amputee Awarded Over £4 Million

Many clinical negligence victims show immense bravery in attempting to pick up the pieces of their lives. However, as a High Court case showed, their commitment to recovery does not necessarily reduce their pressing need for damages.

The case concerned a keen sportsman who was 20 when he suffered multiple fractures to his right leg in a motorbike crash. In hospital, he developed compartment syndrome. There was an admitted delay in treating his condition, with the result that he had to undergo a below-knee amputation of the stricken limb.

He suffered post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of those events and, for a long time, endured frequent flashbacks and would wake up screaming. He formerly enjoyed football, swimming and racket sports and his ambition was to qualify as a PE teacher. He suffered nagging pain in his stump and was deeply frustrated by the restriction on his physical activities. His career hopes have to a large extent been dashed.

Far from sitting back and lamenting his misfortune, however, he has fought hard to conquer his psychiatric difficulties and has found such work as he could. Determined to live an active life, he has taken up golf and created a home gym to improve his fitness. He has tried skiing at an indoor ski centre and expressed interest in taking up snowboarding and wheelchair basketball.

After he launched a personal injury claim, the NHS trust that bore responsibility for his post-accident care admitted breach of duty and that, had he been appropriately treated, the amputation would have been avoided. However, it disputed the value of his claim and asserted that the injuries he sustained in the accident would have left him substantially disabled in any event.

Ruling on the matter, the Court found that, but for the intervening clinical negligence, he would have largely recovered from his accident injuries within about 12 months. Although he would have been left with some residual disabilities, he would have been largely pain free and able to work until normal retirement age.

The Court awarded him a total of £4,676,442 in compensation. That sum included £120,000 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity, £769,100 for his future loss of earnings, £983,313 to cover his special accommodation needs, £980,557 for care and case management and £737,466 for prosthetics.