Published: 06:00, 20 February 2021
| Updated: 13:16, 23 February 2021
A woman whose foot turned black after a bunion operation has been awarded £95,000 in damages.
Elaine Gurnham was one of three patients awarded damages against Mohammed Suhaib Sait who allegedly used "out-of-date" techniques to fix her foot.
She told KentOnline how she was left crawling on her hands and knees with 'half her foot hanging off' after undergoing surgery.
The 58-year-old said: "I was in a terrible position…walking around with a foot in two bits.
"My foot at the time went all different colours ranging from blue to brown and then black.
"I had to crawl around on my hands and knees."
In October 2015, the 58-year-old visited her GP regarding pain along the inside of her left foot. He referred her to Mr Sait for an assessment.
Afterwards Mrs Gurnham experienced swelling and pain for several months.
The mum-of-three tried to persevere with the treatment but would later complain to the hospital the cast was too tight and she was suffering joint and knee pain due to her altered gait.
She added: “I was crying, I could not get out the house.”
Mr Sait advised her it was normal and the pain and swelling would settle.
But she claims the surgeon dismissed her repeated concerns and other red flags raised by medical colleagues and kept saying “it is beautiful”.
“It was not alright,” said Mrs Gurnham. “It was hideous and ugly, it was deformed.”
The former carer also experienced problems with her left big toe, which did not touch the ground when she stood.
As a result, the weight through her left foot was borne by her smaller toes, which caused her to experience considerable pain.
In July 2016, Mr Sait had his practising privileges withdrawn and was suspended from treating patients at Fawkham Manor, which was run by BMI Healthcare.
This was due to allegations he had been performing and profiting from unnecessary operations on NHS and private patients.
The hospital closed in 2019 due to patient safety concerns.
Mrs Gurnham eventually saw another surgeon, who told her the treatment she'd had wasn't used by orthopaedic surgeons practising at the time.
Law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper (PMC) handled her case and obtained evidence from an independent expert who said the bunions were mild and she should not have had surgery.
She should instead have been advised her symptoms could be improved by wearing wider shoes with inserts.
Mrs Gurnham says she suffers from anxiety and now struggles to trust doctors.
But she eventually plucked up the courage to undergo corrective surgery.
But while her condition has improved, she continues to experience chronic pain and has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia which affects her standing and walking.
At 4ft 11in, she now feels self-conscious as a woman who can no longer wear high heels or regular footwear.
During an encounter with John Lewis staff in Bluewater, she broke down while trying to buy footwear to attend her daughter’s wedding.
The mum-of-three says it has also “robbed” her of precious time with her elderly mum, who suffers with dementia and was unable to visit her at the time because of the pain she suffered.
“It is not just the money," she said. "I have got to live with this for the rest of my life.
“It has affected my marriage, my family, it is everything. It is devastating.”
Mrs Gurnham is now warning other patients considering going under the knife privately to make sure they carefully review all options available and always ask for a second, independent opinion.
Mr Sait denied the allegations of negligence against him but his insurers agreed to settle the claim - and two others - on January 15.
They said the medic, who previously also worked at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, was unable to comment on the matter.
He has subsequently undergone a GMC investigation and remains under investigation by the police on suspicion of fraud for billing for unnecessary operations over a 15-year period.