Stubbed toe left Portsmouth woman needing amputation from below knee - and now she is suing QA

A WOMAN from Portsmouth had to have her leg amputated after a stubbed toe developed sepsis.

Sue Ruck and her husband George
Sue Ruck and her husband George

Sue Ruck is taking legal action against Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, following the emergency leg amputation last year.

The 60-year-old, who has diabetes, visited the hospital in Cosham with a toe injury around two weeks after stubbing it at home.

Mrs Ruck instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office to investigate her care after developing sepsis while being treated for the injury.

Irwin Mitchell has now written to PHT, which is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, the law firm is gathering expert medical evidence as they seek to help Mrs Ruck to get the funds to help with her rehabilitation and recovery.

Mrs Ruck said: ‘It is hard to comprehend how a stubbed toe – something I’m sure most people have done on more than one occasion – could result in such a catastrophic injury.

‘To say I am devastated is an obvious understatement, and I’m bitterly disappointed at what I feel was a huge oversight in my care.

‘When you go to hospital you feel like you’re in the most capable hands; that our amazing doctors and nurses will identify the problem and set you on the road to recovery.

‘But I feel like I got anything but the best possible care. I now face life as an amputee and haven’t really even begun to come to terms with that.

‘I just want lessons to be learned so it can’t happen to anyone else. No one should lose their leg because of a stubbed toe in this day and age.

‘I can’t bare the idea that this could happen to someone else.’

Mrs Ruck stubbed her toe in July last year. Over the next two weeks, the wound began to weep and grow increasingly painful, prompting Sue to visit her GP on August 8, where she was referred to QA Hospital.

After three nights as an inpatient, Sue was discharged. But her wound became more severe as sepsis developed and she was urgently re-admitted to QA Hospital on August 31 when she had surgery to remove her toe.

Just hours later surgeons delivered the devastating news that the infection was so bad she would need to have her right leg amputated below the knee.

Nicole Causey, a medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office, representing Mrs Ruck, said: ‘Sue has significant rehabilitation ahead of her as well as prosthetics, walking aids and adaptions to her home to help her regain her previous quality of life.

‘She is still struggling to come to terms with her amputation and the impact it has had on her independence. She is desperate for answers and feels that her diabetes should have raised a red flag when she was being examined.

‘We have written to the trust outlining Sue’s case and are now awaiting a response.’

As a result of the amputation, Sue has lost her independence and now relies on either a wheelchair or prosthetic leg to get about.

Her husband of 41 years, George, is now her carer.

A spokesman for PHT said: ‘The quality of patient care is the highest priority of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

‘However, we are unable to comment on any pending legal cases due to patient confidentiality.’