Medical Negligence

Compensation to aid rehabilitation of car accident victim who had leg amputation due to hospital failings

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Elizabeth Maliakal 

Principal Solicitor for Training & Business Development 

6 min read time

A mother whose leg was fractured when hit by a car eventually had to have an amputation due to medical negligence by the NHS Hospital Trust that looked after her.

Amanda Trundley’s above-knee amputation was required following a failure to provide her with adequate antibiotic cover which allowed an infection to continue for years. The negligence has left the mother reliant on a wheelchair and in constant pain.

Hudgell Solicitors’ medical negligence lawyer Elizabeth Maliakal has now secured a substantial interim compensation award for rehabilitation. This was despite the fact that another legal firm, which initially represented Mrs Trundley but did not specialise in medical negligence, closed her case after six months.

“My advice to anyone in a similar situation is ‘don’t give up’. There were times I wanted to, but I’m glad I persevered; be patient and everything will turn out right in the end, Elizabeth has been outstanding,” said Mrs Trundley.

If you’ve had an amputation due to medical negligence get in touch today.

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‘Deep bone infection’

The mother-of-three was 42 and working in her local fish and chip shop in Hartlepool when she was hit by a car in 2009 as she crossed the road. She underwent surgery to her lower leg and repeatedly returned for further care over the next few years due to infections which led to continuous pain.

That included further surgery at the James Cook University Hospital – run by South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust.

After the accident both my legs were in plaster. I thought then, ‘eventually I’ll be fine’ but I wasn’t.

In 2016 a consultant at another NHS Trust noted concerns that Mrs Trundley may have “a deep bone infection”. Subsequent scans revealed she had an abscess and cellulitis – a skin infection – and blood tests identified inflammation.

In April 2018 she underwent a knee replacement operation under the care of another NHS Trust. However, she returned in June with another infection and despite antibiotic treatment, the decision was made to amputate her leg above the knee.

Following the loss of her limb Mrs Trundley had to return home to her first-floor flat and could only get down the stairs by being flat on her bottom. She says she lived with pain and depression which escalated to suicidal thoughts and she received treatment from a clinical psychologist.

The amputation massively changed my life. I was stuck at home and my anxiety went through the roof; I was so down and my children had to look after me.

At first, I really didn’t feel like I had a claim to make, but I began thinking that losing my leg was not my fault. I went to a local solicitor the first time to seek advice, but they ended up saying they could not pursue the case. Eventually, I went to see Elizabeth and Hudgells and she said straight away ‘we should investigate your concerns’; she was so nice.

Claim focussed on treatment after initial surgery

Ms Maliakal, who has more than 20 years of experience managing high-value medical negligence cases, reviewed Mrs Trundley’s case in 2019 and, based on the evidence, advised her to pursue a claim against the Trust for breach of duty.

“This was a complex case, as over the years my client has received clinical care from different NHS Trusts, but I believed that the reason she eventually had to undergo an amputation was because she was not properly looked after following the surgery she had as a result of the car accident,” said Ms Maliakal, who visited Mrs Trundley at home whilst managing her case.

If my client had, in 2010, been given a course of appropriate antibiotics and follow up care to monitor the infection it would have cleared and on the balance of probabilities it would have been eradicated.

At that stage my client’s clinical outcome would have been positive, she would have been, despite some stiffness, relatively pain free and mobile for the rest of her life and avoided the amputation.

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NHS Trust admitted amputation could have been avoided

The successful legal case claimed the Trust failed to plan an appropriate course of antibiotics and it also wrongly administered an insufficient course of antibiotics and failed to follow up with an appropriate clinical assessment and blood tests to check the infection had cleared.

In 2022 South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust admitted breach of duty and causation and specifically, that with acceptable treatment in 2010, the amputation would have been avoided.

Its chief executive wrote to Mrs Tundley to express his “sincere apologies for the failures which occurred in our care. In particular not administering the appropriate course of antibiotics following surgery in 2010.”

Mrs Trundley has now received an interim compensation award which will enable her to access specialist rehabilitation and professional care to lead a more independent life.

My children have looked after me for so long, now I can have cleaners in and pay carers to help and I’m looking to buy my own wheelchair as the one I use is rented. It’s made such a difference, I didn’t celebrate Christmas for years as I couldn’t afford to, but this year we did, as a family.

There were times when I wanted to give up and cancel the claim, but Elizabeth advised me to have patience and it is all coming good now, finally.

Ms Maliakal said: “I’m delighted for my client that we have successfully reached the stage where a significant award has been made so she can start to rebuild her life and look forward to the future.

It is a testament to Mrs Trundley’s perseverance and strength of character that she has battled through much adversity to reach this stage.

We left no stone unturned when we reviewed her case and we were adamant that not only did she deserve full and fair compensation for her life-changing injury, but also that the Trust, which failed in its duty to adequately look after her, should be held to account for its failings.

The final compensation settlement will likely take into account Mrs Trundley’s loss of earnings and the need for a suitable, specially adapted ground-floor home and lifelong care and support.

What is hospital negligence?

Hospital negligence is when medical professionals make mistakes or fail in their duty of care to you, leading to injury or making an existing condition worse.

There are many circumstances under which a person may be entitled to compensation after receiving negligent or substandard hospital care.

If you’ve been the victim of hospital negligence or have seen a loved one suffer and wish to make an NHS negligence claim, our expert hospital negligence lawyers are here for you. For a free consultation about your claim, get in touch today.

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Read more: Experts in Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims

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