A man whose leg was amputated after doctors wrongly dismissed a serious infection as Athlete’s Foot has been awarded £750,000 in compensation.
Businessman Bob Wareham, 54, was left with just six inches of leg below his right knee after a diabetic foot infection was missed.
He first visited an emergency out-of-hours doctor with the infection and was told it was Athlete’s Foot – and sent home with antibiotics.
Two days later he returned to the hospital’s accident and emergency department and medics properly diagnosed him with a diabetic foot infection.
But they failed to immediately admit him or refer him – a breach of National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines.
The problem worsened and Mr Wareham returned to the hospital three days later and was admitted.
But he then had to wait a further three days before being seen by a multi-disciplinary specialist team – leaving them with no option but amputation.
Mr Wareham, of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, had an amputation at Bristol Royal Infirmary, leaving him with six inches of leg below his right knee.
He said: “With a diabetic person’s infection, time is the ultimate factor. It has happened now at least they have been brought to account.
“But having said that, that’s not going to bring my leg back.
“I am faced for the rest of my life with the situation where I have to cope with amputation through no fault of my own.
“The payout is at the top end of #750,000. But I am a businessman and my time in hospital cost me all my businesses, so there is an element of compensation with that.
“It also has to pay for my future care.”
Mr Wareham suffered his foot infection in August 2008 and launched a three-and-a-half-year legal battle with solicitors, before the case was settled out of court.
Solicitor Justin Goodman, of firm Pardoes, said: “Mr Wareham was awarded a substantial payout as a result of clinical negligence by the out-of-hours general practitioner and the accident and emergency department at Weston General Hospital.
“On every occasion Mr Wareham attended the out-of-hours GP and the accident and emergency of Weston General Hospital, he should have been referred for surgical opinion by an appropriately experienced surgeon who deals with diabetic foot infections.
“Had he been referred, he would not have undergone an amputation.”
Mr Wareham added: “It’s been a very long and stressful three-and-a-half years to get justice for my mistreatment.
“I can only hope that lessons will be learned from the failures and new or revised procedures will be introduced to avoid a repeat of the mistakes and errors which led to my unnecessary amputation.”
Weston General Hospital and the NHS Litigation Authority declined to comment.