A grieving daughter claims mistakes by two hospitals led to her mother having her leg needlessly amputated and dying without getting answers for what went wrong.
Michelle Casey claims blunders by Southend University Hospital and the Royal London Hospital were to blame for her late mother Patricia Webb losing the limb less than two years after the injury.
Mrs Casey, from Romford, is mounting a legal claim against the hospitals and demanding a full investigation into the tragic case as well as damages.
Michelle Casey claims blunders by Southend University Hospital and the Royal London Hospital were to blame for her late mother Patricia Webb losing her leg. They are pictured together in an undated photo
The 76-year-old retired widow and grandmother from Canvey Island, Essex, fell at home in late October 2013, fracturing her right leg.
An x-ray was performed in December 2013 by Southend University Hospital but doctors failed to pick up the fracture, Mrs Casey’s lawyers claim.
When seen at an appointment six months later, Mrs Webb’s leg had deteriorated badly and she was advised she needed complex surgery at the Royal London Hospital, a specialist centre.
But administrative delays in referring her meant the grandmother-of-three did not receive surgery on the fracture until May 15, 2015.
Mrs Webb was not given a vascular assessment prior to surgery, which could have demonstrated she was suffering from peripheral vascular disease, the lawyers allege.
This condition causes blood vessels to narrow, reducing the blood supply – and therefore vital oxygen – that reaches the affected limb.
This vascular assessment could have prevented the grandmother from having a tourniquet placed on the limb during surgery.
In the event, Mrs Webb had a tourniquet on for two hours and 45 minutes, which allegedly decreased the blood supply to her already oxygen-depleted leg.
An x-ray was performed in December 2013 by Southend University Hospital (file pic) but doctors failed to pick up a fracture, Mrs Casey’s lawyers claim
Mrs Webb was discharged from the Royal London on 16 June 2015.
However, after being seen by two carers they were so concerned for her that they called an ambulance and she was readmitted to Southend Hospital later that same day.
Mrs Webb subsequently underwent an amputation of her right leg on June 25, 2015 due to a lack of blood supply which had caused the tissue in her toes and foot to die.
Following the amputation she returned home, where she required extensive care from her daughter and granddaughter, but died in August 2017 from heart failure aged 76.
In September 2016, the family instructed James Bell, a clinical negligence partner at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, to help them pursue the hospitals for answers about the alleged failings.
Neither hospital provided any response until May 2017, the firm claims, and Mrs Webb died without receiving a full apology for the care which led to her leg being amputated.
Southend University Hospital did eventually responded to the family in December 2017 with a brief written apology.
Bart’s NHS Trust admitted failings in relation to some of its care by way of a letter in May 2017, but did not issue any apology until January 2018.
The hospital lawyers admit that there were errors with regards to Mrs Webb’s care but have still not advised as to whether they agree that the amputation could have been avoided.
Expert witness reports prepared on behalf of Hodge Jones & Allen concluded that if proper treatment had been afforded to Mrs Webb in a timely fashion that she would, in all likelihood, have made a full and complete recovery without the need for an amputation.
Lawyers acting for Mrs Casey claim medics at the Royal London Hospital (pictured) did not prepare her mother properly for surgery on her leg, contributing to problems that led to the limb being amputated
Mrs Casey said: ‘It has been an unbearably sad time for us as a family, and I have been horrified at the treatment she received.
‘Prior to the fracture my mother had been extremely independent but after the amputation she became housebound, fully relying on myself and carers to attend to her most basic needs.
‘Her inability to care for herself and her increasing isolation led to her becoming very upset and depressed.
‘To now have to accept that she will never know the outcome of this investigation just adds further insult to injury.’
James Bell of Hodge Jones & Allen, said: ‘The treatment that Mrs Webb received from both hospitals featured a catalogue of errors and delays.
‘The failure to treat this simple leg fracture led to Patricia losing her quality of life and her independence. She suffered immensely from October 2013 to August 2017.
‘These failings, which led to Mrs Webb’s death, must be investigated fully. This case should have been concluded a long time ago and certainly apologies could and should have been made whilst Patricia was alive.’
Southend Hospital said: ‘The Trust would again like to extend our sincere condolences to Mrs Casey and her family on the sad loss of her mother.
‘Given the ongoing legal proceedings, we are unfortunately unable to comment further at this time.’
Barts Health NHS Trust said: ‘We are sorry that Ms Casey has concerns regarding her mother’s care.
‘As the investigation is ongoing we are unfortunately unable to comment further.’