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Patient with known family history of thrombosis, suffers below the knee amputation due to misdiagnosis

We recently represented a patient who despite visiting a doctor complaining of having leg pain, and advising that there was a family history of thrombosis, suffered a below the knee amputation due to a misdiagnosis just days earlier.

Our client led an active lifestyle enjoying several outdoor hobbies when he developed significant pain in his leg which extended from one of his knees down to his foot. Aware of a family history of thrombosis, he attended an appointment with his GP immediately.

Despite the doctor being made aware of the family history, which included at least two immediate family members dying as a result of the condition, he was not correctly examined and instead, diagnosed with a sprain and given a prescription for anti-inflammatory cream.

His symptoms however, worsened in the time between leaving the GP surgery and obtaining the medication and he noticed that the affected foot was discoloured and the lower part of his leg had started feeling cold.

Having suggested to the doctor that the pain could be related to thrombosis given his family history, and told instead that there was no sign of deep vein tenderness, he continued to follow the doctor’s orders and applied the cream.

The pain continued to quickly increase over the following few days to the extent that having restful sleep was impossible and his leg had become swollen.

Unable to leave the house for several days after, he called emergency services just four days following his GP visit complaining of significant pain. The operator concluded that an ambulance was needed and he was taken to his local hospital where a red, sensitive patch of skin was noted and that the area was warm to the touch.

An ultra sound was carried out revealing the presence of a blocked artery in his affected leg and urgent surgery was planned. The operation took place on the same afternoon and surgeons attempted to remove the blood clots.

A large amount of thrombosis was removed, however, medical staff discovered that he had abnormally narrow veins affecting the blood flow to his leg so they carried out a procedure to rectify this but unfortunately this failed.

The blood supply to the affected leg had been significantly reduced due to thrombosis which had critically developed over a short number of days following his GP visit. The surgeons had to perform a below the knee amputation to save his remaining limb.

Despite being aged in his 70’s, our client had previously enjoyed a physically active life and had advised the GP during his initial visit that thrombosis may be the reason he was suffering leg pain but this was dismissed.

We were instructed to pursue a claim of medical negligence on his behalf arguing that had our client been properly examined during his initial GP appointment, and an urgent referral made at the time, a surgical procedure could have restored the blood flow to his leg and the below the knee amputation could have been entirely avoided.

We settled his claim for a five figure sum.

Spotting the symptoms of thrombosis

The NHS advises that thrombosis can be recognised with the presence of the following symptoms:

• Pain, swelling and tenderness in the legs
• A heavy ache in the affected area
• Warm skin felt in the area of the clot
• The presence of red skin, particularly behind the back of the affected knee

Blood clots can be treated if recognised and the appropriate care provided in a timely manner. If you, or someone you know, has been affected by similar circumstances, Linder Myers’ highly regarded team of specialists are here to provide sympathetic advice.

Contact a member of our team on 0800 085 3295 for an initial free discussion. Alternatively, contact us with details of your potential claim by email

Download our step by step guide to pursuing a medical negligence claim guide Find out more about our Medical Negligence team
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