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Pothole hell for a teen who almost lost her leg after broken limb became infected

A teenager who tripped over a pothole and broke her leg almost lost her limb after contracting a deadly infection.

Sophie and her scan right showing the broken screw

Sophie and her scan right showing the broken screw


Sophie Jackson, 19 from Colchester, Essex, was crossing the road in March when she tripped and crushed the bone in her shin.

After being rushed to A&E she was told she needed an operation to insert five screws as the break was so severe.

Just two weeks later a scan revealed one of the screws had snapped in half inside her leg, but Sophie claims doctors did nothing and within days the wound began oozing with puss.

Sophie alleges she then visited Colchester General Hospital over 20 times in nine weeks but despite her agonising leg pain, her crippling symptoms were ignored.

By this point the potentially life-threatening infection had eaten its way down to the bone and Sophie feared it would need to be amputated.

Thankfully her leg started responding to antibiotics but six months after the freak accident, Sophie is still receiving physiotherapy.

The social worker has now put in a formal complaint against the hospital who are now investigating.

Sophie said: “I was absolutely devastated when I overheard doctors saying there wasn’t much more they could do for my leg.

“I just thought I had a broken leg, I couldn’t believe when it when I was told amputation was even an option.

“I broke my leg when I was going for a meal with some friends, I crossed the road and then suddenly tripped over a pothole and fell.

Sophie's left after the tripped over a pothole and her leg became infected

Sophie’s left after the tripped over a pothole and her leg became infected


“I thought I’d just broken my leg but after having the operation to insert the screws I started feeling sick a lot and couldn’t keep fluids down.

“I just knew something wasn’t right.

“I visited my GP over 20 times in nine weeks was sent straight to Colchester General Hospital but staff kept dismissing my symptoms as a sickness bug.

“I was finally diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening infection but by this point it had eaten its way down to my bone.

“I just feel really let down, I’m only 19 and I’ve been in agony for six months and off my feet all because my initial concerns were ignored and not
dealt with properly.

“There’s still a part of the screw stuck in my bone and despite my leg healing the infection is still there, it’s just not good enough.”

After tripping up on the pothole Sophie was rushed to A&E where doctors told her she had a broken leg.

A few days later Sophie went to the fracture clinic to have her cast changed, but more tests revealed she had broken her tibia and fibula bones, as
well as her ankle and she needed an urgent operation.

Sophie said: “I thought I was just having my cast changed but the next thing I knew I was having an operation there and then.

“I phoned my mum and nan right away as I didn’t want to go through all that alone.

“My ankle ligaments had completely torn away from my leg and the break was severe that surgeons inserted five screws into my leg to help my
bones heal.

“It was so painful, then I was told two weeks later that one of the screws had broken but nothing was done, that’s when I started feeling really sick.”

Sophie added: “It was a bacterial infection in the beginning from the broken screw, it had entered my bloodstream but then made its way down to my bone.

“The wound was so badly infected, it was disgusting changing the dressings which were full of puss.

Sophie's leg stitched up

Sophie’s leg stitched up


“In total I had 10 courses of oral antibiotics, eight operations and six of those were deep cleans to remove the metal work.

“I had to lie in agony in hospital for weeks and during my last admission date, July 26, I was told by a nurse that they were running out of options as the infection had gone into my bone.

“I was horrified.

“I still have part of the metal jammed in my bone as they couldn’t remove it which it’s scary.

“My leg is healing now, I just hope nothing goes wrong again.”

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are disappointed and sorry that Miss Jackson has concerns about her care because our aim is to be at our best for all patients at all times.

“She phoned our Patient Advice and Liaison Service [PALS] and two days later came to Colchester General Hospital with family members to discuss her concerns with PALS.

“At that meeting, it was agreed that the Trust would treat this matter as a formal complaint.

“We are currently carrying out a full and thorough investigation, and have been in touch with Miss Jackson in order to keep her informed of our

“At the end of the investigation we will, of course, share our findings with her.”


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