Claimant awarded £110,000 after contracting MRSA

The male claimant was awarded total damages of £110,000 after an MRSA infection led to amputation.

Injury details

The claimant aged 78 was thought to be suffering from peripheral arterial disease caused by longstanding cigarette smoking.

An MR angiogram was carried out in September 2005 and the claimant was then reviewed in October 2005. He continued to be reviewed but by the time he was seen on April 21 2006 his symptoms had worsened and so a right iliac angioplasty and a right femoro-popliteal bypass were planned.

The claimant was therefore admitted to hospital and underwent surgery. The following day the nurse noted a blister on his right heel. On review four days later a pressure wound was noted. There was no mention within the notes of the condition of the operation wound but it had been noted that the lower end of the claimant's thigh was slightly gaping and "oozing +++". Swabs were taken and the wounds dressings were changed regularly before being discharged three days later. As the wound was still oozing it was arranged that a district nurse would change the dressing.

The results of the swabs came back later that day with a positive indication of MRSA. The claimant was made aware of this the following day when his dressing was changed and provided him with antibiotics

The antibiotics were stopped a month later and the claimant was advised to try and walk around the home more. Unfortunately, after a trip at home the claimant fractured the neck of his right femur and was therefore admitted with a view to having a hip replacement the following day.

Before the operation was performed a doctor was called as the right thigh wound was bleeding. A fresh pulsatile bleeding was noted and a compression dressing applied while they awaited the surgeon. The surgeon noted that no distal pulses could be felt in the wound above the knee, the leg was white and the patient had tested positive for MRSA.

The infected graft was removed from the wound but this indicated that amputation was inevitable and the planned hip surgery was now not an option.

The above-knee amputation was carried out a month after the initial surgery and discussions about the hip surgery followed. The claimant decided not to have the hip surgery which meant the fracture at the neck of the femur remained untreated. He would therefore be unable to use a prosthetic limb.

The claimant brought an action against the defendant alleging that the defendant had failed in their duty of care and had negligently caused the claimant's injuries.

Medical evidence was obtained which suggested that the popliteal bypass graft should not have taken place to start with. He felt that an angioplasty would have helped but despite indications that it was not bilateral intermittent claudication, this had not been considered. He also advised that if a bypass graft was deemed to be the appropriate action then this should have been a venous graft and not a prosthetic graft. Further, it had been the failure to treat the MRSA which had led to the

Prosthetic graft becoming infected. It was this infection that had then led to the amputation. In his opinion if the claimant had been given the appropriate vascular treatment to start with the amputation would not have been needed.

Further evidence from a microbiologist suggested that had the MRSA in the wound was as a result of poor hand hygiene which demonstrated substandard care.

Other obtained reports also suggested that the claimant was suffering with a mild to moderate depressive disorder following the events and his level of disability had also increased.

The claimant alleged that they had failed to fully investigate the problems

Conclusion and Settlement

Court proceedings were issued by the claimant and after a series of offers the parties were able to reach an agreement out of Court. In light of the claimant's age and his wish to conclude matters, the defendant's offer of £110,000 was accepted. It was estimated that £75,000 of this was in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

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