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Health and wellness

Cancer patient awarded compensation after contracting flesh-eating infection

The infection the patient contracted was so severe he lost most of his penis

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 12:30am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 10:33am

A cancer patient who lost most of his penis to a flesh-eating superbug after routine surgery has won a six-figure payout.

Andrew Lane, 63, contracted the potentially fatal infection necrotising fasciitis after an operation to remove his prostate gland in March 2013. His bowel was punctured during the procedure at Southend hospital in Essex, but staff only noticed the injury six days later, his lawyers said.

Lane, from Thurrock in Essex, was rushed to theatre but the damage caused by the infection was so severe that he was left with just an inch-and-a-half of his penis.

His lawyers, Slater and Gordon, said on Monday that Southend University hospital NHS foundation trust paid him an undisclosed sum to settle the case in July, admitting liability.

Lane said: “They’ve admitted their mistake, but I’ve not had an apology and knowing that just a scan a few days earlier would have prevented all of this is very difficult to accept.

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“I’ve been compensated, but I’ll never get my health back and I just want other people to be aware of how dangerous this flesh-eating bug is. If you do not feel you are getting the right treatment, you have got to speak out.”

Lane, who married his partner of 18 years soon after being discharged from hospital, is incontinent and has been treated for depression.

I used to be sporty and proud of my body, but now I can’t bear to look in the mirror.
Andrew Lane

He can no longer have sex despite retaining his desire. “It’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with for both of us,” he said. “I know Sue still loves me, but I do feel less of a man.”

He was also forced to have contaminated muscle tissue covering his stomach removed, which he said left him looking nine months pregnant, as his stomach intestines hang out.

Lane, who now works as a carer, said: “I’m at greater risk of hernias and I have two so I’m in constant pain. I used to be sporty and proud of my body, but now I can’t bear to look in the mirror.”

Tom Spearpoint, a clinical negligence specialist at Slater and Gordon, said Lane had shown incredible strength and selflessness in speaking out to raise awareness of this rare but serious bacterial infection, which left untreated can be life-threatening.

“The impact has been devastating, both physically and emotionally, but the trust’s admissions have at least given him some closure and the means to get the care and support that he needs to move on with his life,” he said.