Devon mum sues paramedics for £200k after having fingers amputated

Michelle and her oldest daughter Keana (Feb 2020)
Michelle and her oldest daughter Keana (Feb 2020) -Credit:Keana Ellis

A mum who had her fingers and thumbs partially amputated after contracting sepsis when she was bitten by the family dog is taking legal action against the paramedics who were called to help her.

Michelle Ellis, 45, is suing medical professionals who she says advised her to stay at home and take paracetamol following the dog attack. Ms Ellis, from Plymouth, was bitten twice by her pet on her right wrist and outer forearm which led to "flu-like symptoms" just two days later prompting her to call an ambulance.

The mother-of-four said she showed paramedics her bruised skin which had a mottled appearance and told them she was suffering from a high temperature, breathlessness and shivering.


However, she claims the medics decided not to take her to hospital and instead advised her to strip off, cover herself with a sheet, use a fan to keep her temperature down and take paracetamol to manage her pain.

Her health quickly worsened, leading to an urgent admission to Derriford Hospital. Once there, she experienced multi-organ failure, an induced into coma, was resuscitated several times and was diagnosed with severe sepsis. The medical ordeal also necessitated partial amputations on her fingers and she underwent an emergency tracheostomy to facilitate breathing, reports the Mirror.

Ms Ellis has launched legal action against South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), seeking compensation of more than £200,000. Her solicitors suggest negligence by paramedics led to serious long-term effects.

Court papers obtained by MailOnline show lawyers stating: "The claimant's (Ms Ellis) injuries were caused or materially contributed to by the negligence of the Defendant (SWASFT), its servants or agents in the mismanagement of the Claimant's treatment."

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They state: "Each of the paramedics and other clinical staff employed by the Defendant owed to the Claimant a duty of care in respect of the clinical advice, actions and treatment provided by them. The Defendant is vicariously liable for any breach of such duty."

Ms Ellis's lawyers also argue that when she was eventually taken to hospital, her dog marks were visible and recorded in the clinical notes. The document maintains: "They must, therefore, have been visible when paramedics attended the Claimant between 23.08 on 15 January 2021 and 00.23h the following day." Court documents also claim that Ms Ellis is now unable to fully use her hands and has pain in her fingers.

The mother alleges she has been left with PTSD and depression following the incident. The legal papers reveal: "She has been left with significant cosmetic defects and significant loss of function in her hands which will be permanent. She also experiences pain and sensitivity in the tips of her index fingers which will probably improve but, if it does not, will require further surgery."

A representative for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust stated: "It would be inappropriate for us to comment at this stage."