Family wins £1.2 million pay-out after ‘mistakes’ at Pilgrim Hospital

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A family whose lives were left ‘devastated’ by a mistake at Pilgrim Hospital have won a compensation pay-out of more than £1 million.

Tracey Hughes broke her leg after a fall in her garden seven years ago and the catalogue of errors that followed left her family jobless and homeless.

Now law firm Bridge McFarland has helped Tracey to secure a £1.2 million pay-out this week from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

Tracey, who was 36 at the time, was taken to Pilgrim following the fall in October 2006. She had broken her right tibia and fibula in the accident.

She underwent routine surgery and should have been sent home within two days, been in plaster for just six to eight weeks and have fully recovered in six months.

But the operation to fix the fractures was not performed properly and the leg was not immobilised as it should have been. As a result she underwent further surgery in November 2007 but once again mistakes were made.

Tracey was referred to specialists at Leicester Royal Infirmary in January 2008 and has undergone a series of painful operations and treatments to try to fix the problems. For a long time she faced the prospect of having her leg amputated below the knee.

The operations included shortening her right leg by 3.5cms and the fusing of her ankle bones. She is likely to face further surgeries in the future and has been left with significant and permanent pain.

During the treatment Tracey required so much care that her partner Simon was forced to take prolonged time off work – as a result he lost his job at a local engineering company.

The family fell into arrears with mortgage payments and their home was repossessed. The house was quickly sold with negative equity and the couple have been pursued by the lender ever since.

The couple and their three children had also been planning, before the accident, to relocate to Spain where Simon had the opportunity to work on an overseas contract. They were forced to abandon the move.

“The last seven years has been a complete nightmare for the whole family,” said Tracey, now 43.

“My partner lost his job, we lost our home, our dream of relocating to Spain was in tatters and my own hopes of training to become a veterinary nurse are ruined.

“We are relieved that the case has finally been settled after such a long time but I have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life.

“The compensation has brought some relief to the stress the family have suffered but it can’t make up for the trauma.

“Our lawyer, Stephen Lambert, has been a godsend. I don’t know what we’d have done without him. He’s become like a member of the family and has helped us enormously through this horrible ordeal.”

Bridge McFarland partner Stephen Lambert said: “Not only Tracey’s life, but that of her family, have been significantly disrupted by her seemingly innocuous injury and its consequences.

“What the family have suffered is truly appalling. The pressure on Tracey, Simon and their children has been intense but we are satisfied that we were able to bring them financial security after such a long fight.

“We hope the family can finally move on and get Tracey the facilities she desperately needs and deserves.”