A mother of two reportedly is suing an English hospital after doctors didn’t realize she was suffering from a life-threatening condition, resulting in multiple limb amputations which she now is calling “a fight for life.”
Magdalena Malec, 31, had both of her legs amputated after contracting sepsis — the body’s extreme response to an infection — at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital in Luton, the South West News Service (SWNS) reported.
She also had her right arm and the fingers on her left hand removed, which hospital officials reportedly admit could have been avoided.
According to the news service, it all started in December 2014, when Malec was told she suffered a miscarriage a few weeks after learning she was pregnant with her third child.
After being sent home from the emergency room with painkillers for her heavy bleeding and stomach cramps, Malec reportedly returned to Luton and Dunstable later that month, when she discovered she had an ectopic pregnancy — in which a fertilized egg attaches itself to a cavity outside the uterus — and underwent emergency surgery.
Malec, according to reports, also had to have a kidney transplant.
During recovery, Malec developed ischemia of her limbs — described as a lack of blood supply to certain parts of the body. Her limbs reportedly then developed gangrene and her body tissue died, which Malec said occurred after hospital staff didn’t recognize the warning signs of her sepsis.
Six months later, she had surgery to remove her limbs and returned to the hospital three times a week for dialysis.
“Nothing will restore what I had. I will never paint my nails again, I will never make a ponytail for my daughter,” Malec told The Telegraph. “I do not trust doctors and I am very skeptical about all medical appointments and diagnoses.”
Malec, mother to a 9 and a 7-year-old, said she now has to relearn how to live her life.
“I am learning how to live with pain. Going out and coping with the way people look at me is very difficult, and so is self-acceptance,” Malec said.
The mother’s lawyer, David Thomas, said: “The catastrophic chain of events which led to Malec’s near death and horrendous injuries were completely avoidable if the hospital trust had followed its own sepsis protocol.”
“There were a number of missed opportunities or ‘red flags’ which were not acted upon until it was too late,” Thomas said. “If diagnosed early enough, sepsis is easily treated with antibiotics but despite recent awareness campaigns, mistakes such as this are still happening. It’s tragic.’’
The National Health Service reportedly has apologized for missing the warning signs and acknowledged that Malec’s amputations could’ve been avoided.
“There were missed opportunities to recognize the progressive clinical deterioration of Malec and act accordingly, including the timely administration of antibiotics,” the hospital said, according to SWNS. “We convey our sincere apologies to Malec and we recognize the care provided fell below the standards we strive for.”
Malec has received in the meantime an “interim payment” — it’s unclear from whom — ahead of her lawsuit.