Published November 20, 2014
A woman from the U.K. has been awarded nearly $160,000 in compensation after doctors mistakenly cut off her leg, the Daily Mail reported.
Michelle Richards had her right leg amputated above the knee after she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone. Infections can invade the bone by traveling through the bloodstream according to the Mayo Clinic, or by spreading from nearby tissue. It was once considered an incurable condition, but today it can be successfully treated.
Those treatments include surgery to remove parts of the bone that have died, followed by an aggressive round of antibiotics.
Richards had already undergone a below-the-knee amputation on the same leg due in part to her spina bifida. Following that surgery, she started to experience complications, and that’s when doctors told her she need to amputate above the knee.
“I went in for the amputation and believed I was making the right choice – I never really questioned it,” the 43-year-old mother said. “But after the operation I started to realize something was wrong.”
Richards then asked the hospital in North Wales for the test results that confirmed she had osteomyelitis – but she was denied access to them. She was then referred back her family doctor who confirmed that she did not have a bone infection after all.
“There was no sign of osteomyelitis at all,” Richards said. “I was devastated – I expected them to find something.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the hospital apologized for the mistake and acknowledged “the impact of the above knee amputation has had upon the patient and for the additional distress that may have been caused to as a result of bringing the clinical negligence claim.”