A 54-year-old patient in England who has diabetes received approximately $1.2 million in a recent settlement after a misdiagnosed foot infection led to the amputation of his foot and part of his leg.
In August 2008, Bob Wareham of Somerset went to an after-hours general practice facility with an infected right foot. He was told he had athlete's foot and was prescribed antibiotics.
Two days later, the infection was no better. Wareham went to the emergency room, where he was told he had a diabetic foot infection. Wareham still was not admitted to the hospital or referred to a specialist, as Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommend.
After another three days, Wareham went back to the hospital. This time he was admitted, but it took three more days before a multidisciplinary specialist team examined him.
By this time, the infection had progressed too far. Wareham underwent surgery to have his foot and part of his leg amputated. He now has only six inches of his leg left below the knee.
“I am faced for the rest of my life with the situation where I have to cope with an amputation through no fault of my own,” Wareham told reporters after his case was settled out of court.
He added that his time in the hospital caused him to lose his businesses, “so there is an element of compensation for that.” He noted that the settlement also would need to cover the cost of his care in the future.
“[A]t least they have been brought to account,” Wareham said of his inappropriate medical care. “But, having said that, that's not going to bring my leg back.”