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Man who lost most of his penis to flesh-eating superbug wins payout from Essex hospital

Southend Hospital Photo: PA

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 following an operation to remove his prostate gland in March 2013.

His bowel was punctured during the procedure but staff at Southend Hospital in Essex only noticed the injury six days later, his lawyers said.

Andrew Lane had to have contaminated tissue removed from his stomach Credit: Slater and Gordon/ PA

Mr 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.

He was also forced to have the contaminated tissue covering his stomach removed, which he said has left him looking “nine months pregnant”.

Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has admitted there was a delay in diagnosing Mr Lane’s condition and the case was settled in July for an undisclosed sum, Slater and Gordon said.

Mr 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.

“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 don’t feel you are getting the right treatment, you have got to speak out.”

Andrew Lane with his wife Sue Credit: Slater and Gordon/PA

Mr Lane, who married his long-term partner shortly after being discharged from hospital, can no longer have sex, is incontinent and has been treated for depression following the life-changing operation.

“My wife Sue and I have been together for 18 years and enjoyed a healthy sex life, but since this happened that has been impossible,” he said.

“The desire is still there, but the little that’s left just doesn’t function anymore.

“It’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with for both of us. I know Sue still loves me, but I do feel less of a man."

Mr Lane, who now works as a carer, added: “Because I have no muscle tissue my intestines just hang out and I look like I’m nine months pregnant.

“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.”

Denise Townsend, director of nursing at Southend University Hospital, said: “I can confirm that the Trust is in communication with Mr Lane regarding his case, a settlement sum has been agreed and that the Trust has admitted failures in relation to delays in Mr Lane’s diagnosis.”

Lawyer Tom Spearpoint, a clinical negligence specialist at Slater and Gordon, said: “Mr Lane has 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.”