A LANCASTER man whose leg “snapped” following a routine knee replacement operation has won a five-figure out-of-court settlement.
Stewart Clegg, 64, from Hala, was left in agony after surgeons at the Kendal NHS Treatment Centre failed to notice they had damaged his left thigh bone during surgery on August 18 2010.
Mr Clegg said he heard staff at the hospital celebrating completing the surgery in a record time, when in reality they had damaged the femur, causing it to split when he walked on it.
The married father, who has been a taxi driver in Lancaster for 24 years, first suffered pains in his knee in 2008 and was put on a waiting list for a knee replacement operation.
He said: “The operation has led to so much pain, anguish and upset for me and my family.
“I knew I wasn’t ready to be discharged after the first operation and I’ll never forget the excruciating pain I felt when my bone snapped.
“I was outside on my patio and I’d only hobbled two or three steps on my crutches when I felt a terrible pain.
“I fell over and hurt my arm and I could tell my leg had snapped before I’d even hit the floor because it was all twisted.
“I was in agony and didn’t know what to do but thankfully one of my sons came home from work half an hour later and called an ambulance.
“A surgeon at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary later said he couldn’t believe how bad the fracture was and said he was disgusted about how badly the operation had been done.”
NHS North Lancashire also admitted missing a second opportunity to prevent the fracture by failing to look at his post-operative x-rays at the centre, based at Westmorland General Hospital and run privately by Ramsay Health Care UK but funded by the trust.
Mr Clegg said that when he complained to the NHS about his care his concerns were rejected as a recognised complication.
However during the investigation a surgeon admitted that the Mr Clegg’s complaint was valid but he was not informed.
The trust has since apologised for the poor standard of treatment Mr Clegg received, and said a clinical service investigation had produced a new action plan identifying areas that needed to be addressed.
Mr Clegg was represented by specialist law firm Irwin Mitchell, who secured a five figure settlement from NHS North Lancashire to cover access to intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation and lost earnings over a 19 month period.
During this time, Mr Clegg had to use crutches and a walking frame and was unable to help his wife care for the couple’s 28-year-old disabled son.
He had to endure another operation to repair the fracture and a third to remove some of the metal work.
Mr Clegg, who said he had received excellent care from the RLI since the botched operation, added: “I hope this shows that whether an operation is to simply replace an old knee or it’s something complicated like open heart surgery, it should be considered just as important because the consequences of an operation that’s gone wrong can have a big impact on people like me and my family.”