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Record number of amputation negligence claims

Figures show that negligence claims against NHS trusts relating to limb amputations have risen by almost 75 per cent in 10 years.

According to figures released in response to a request under Freedom of Information law, a record 122 amputation cases were settled against NHS trusts in 2018-19, compared to 70 in the 2009-10 period. And 28 trusts settled more than 10 claims relating to amputations over the decade 2009 to 2019. The records were released by NHS Resolution, the body which handles claims against the service.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust had the most settled amputation negligence claims – 20 each between 2009 and 2019. It is understood that all three trusts are among the largest in the country, which could account for the number of claims.

The compiler of the figures suggested that amputations may have be caused by medical negligence. This can include delayed treatments, a surgeon operating on the wrong body part, or failure to recognise that blood supply has been cut off to a limb. It is understood that a settled amputation claim does not mean a trust admitted negligence

A spokesman for Nottingham University Hospitals Trust said it was one of the busiest acute trusts in the UK and a major trauma centre for the East Midlands.

Medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Dr Jennifer Hill, said her trust cared for two million patients a year with injuries and conditions sometimes resulting in amputation, adding “We will have reviewed every one of the small number of cases where there has been an unexpected outcome over the past 10 years to ensure we continually learn and make changes where necessary to limit the chances of it happening again,”.

University Hospitals Birmingham said it was unable to comment on the figures.

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