A DORSET-BASED solicitors firm has secured a £575,000 compensation payout for a woman whose left leg had to be amputated after the NHS failed to treat her in time.

Surgeons amputated the 68-year-old's leg above the knee after doctors waited over a month before treating her narrowed arteries.

The retired bookkeeper had phoned her GP surgery complaining of pain in her little toe, which turned blue.

But despite a series of phone calls and appointments at her GP surgery, she was not seen by a hospital doctor until a month after she first experienced the pain.

At one point her husband dialled 999 and asked for a paramedic and an ambulance but was refused.

Part of the delay in treatment had been due to a communication breakdown. The patient’s GP had left an urgent message, asking for her to be referred to hospital – but then failed to check this was done.

The patient had critical limb ischemia, a severe blockage in the artery. It reduces blood flow to the lower extremities and – if left untreated – can result in serious complications, requiring amputation.

Nearly six weeks after first complaining of the pain in her foot, the patient was told she would undergo an artery-widening procedure. She was told the procedure would be in three days’ time – but then it was delayed for 24 hours.

Had the patient been treated in time, she would have lost only her little toe – instead of her left leg above the knee.

She now struggles with mobility. She and her husband have had to borrow against the value of their four-bedroom family home in Royal Wootton Bassett, near Swindon, to buy a £32,893 prosthetic leg.

They have also had to buy a stairlift, mobility scooter, electric wheelchair, travel wheelchair and a ramp.

It took six years of litigation before Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and GP Dr Ceri Davies agreed to settle the claim for £575,000 compensation plus costs.

Coles Miller partner David Simpson, who leads the Dorset law firm’s medical negligence department, said: “Medical errors by the defendants resulted in our client suffering a terrible life-changing injury.

“It has significantly impacted her mobility, her quality of life and – in her own words – has had a ‘dreadful psychological effect’ on her. Following her injury, she felt anxious about being in public places. She was intimidated by social situations and how she would appear to people.

“Medical negligence cases generally take several years to complete because of their complexity and because of all the expert clinical evidence required.

“This has been one of the longest cases we’ve ever had. It took much longer than normal because two defendants were involved but we were absolutely determined to get justice for our client.”

Mr Simpson works out of the company's Poole office, which can be reached on 01202 673011.