Dad sues hospital after basic infection leads to amputation

A LOGAN father has revealed he was close to "throwing (him)self off the Hospital Helipad" after he claims staff at Logan Hospital failed to properly treat a basic infection in his leg that resulted in 11 months of hospital visits, multiple surgeries and amputation.

Des Ferguson, 39, of Eagleby, was chopping a tree down as a favour for his friend when he fell and awkwardly landed on his right leg in April of 2016, causing multiple bones to fracture.

Over the course of the next two months, Des would present to Logan Hospital numerous times - including for surgery, wound washouts and attempts to treat infection - before he would finally be transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital on June 14, with a lower leg amputation to take place the following year.

Mr Ferguson told The Sunday Mail he suffered serious depression and had "many suicidal thoughts" when he spent three months in hospital learning to stand, walk and use his prosthetic leg after surgeons were forced to amputate following what his lawyer claims was medical malpractice by Logan Hospital.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers' Medical Law Practice Leader Bill King, who is representing Mr Ferguson in his legal battle with Logan Hospital, said his client's amputation was a result not of the injury, but of improper medical treatment.

"The organism that was causing the infection wasn't identified quickly enough and it wasn't treated properly either," Mr King said.

"It took days for the bacteria to be identified … The appropriate antibiotic treatment for that bacteria wasn't given.

"Ultimately and tragically, this led to Des having his leg amputated the following year."

Des Ferguson is suing Logan hospital after losing his leg to infection. Picture: Richard Walker
Des Ferguson is suing Logan hospital after losing his leg to infection. Picture: Richard Walker

 

Mr Ferguson, who has five children - three aged under four years old - said losing his leg changed the way he interacts with his kids.

"I can't play with them properly, I'm a lot slower and it's a lot harder," Mr Ferguson said.

"If I damage (what's left of the leg) I could lose more of it and become an above knee amputee, or even have to get it amputated to the hip. I'm a lot more cautious of what I do now and I have to be more aware of what (the kids) do."

Mr Ferguson, who is a qualified chef by trade and dabbled in labouring before the accident, said he was initially unaware the treatment at the Logan Hospital was inadequate.

"I don't know anything about the medical side of things and I thought they knew what they were doing. I just took their word for it," he said.

It wasn't until Mr Ferguson smelt "a disgusting smell that made (him) nearly throw up," that he realised something was not right.

"It's a big mental thing when you get treated like a number. And you think, well this shouldn't have happened if they were doing the right thing."

Mr Ferguson said the months spent in hospital for rehabilitation as a result of the amputation were "lonely and depressing," and that he "thought about using the IV drip to off (him) self."

"I wanted to hurt myself. I was telling them I was going to go and throw myself off the Hospital Helipad. I was telling them I just didn't care anymore, and they needed to do something to help me."

Unable to work due to poor metal health as a result of the amputation, Mr Ferguson wants hospital procedures to be reconsidered.

"I want them to look at their protocol about how they treat people, the wound care, how quickly they send people home."

He encouraged future patients to ask questions when receiving medical treatments.

Logan Hospital and Metro South Health said they were aware of the incident, however would not comment further siting legal proceedings.

Originally published as Dad sues hospital after basic infection leads to amputation


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