In November 2001, he burnt his toe from a hot water bottle and since the symptoms seemed very much like the previous wounds he had, he decided to seek a consultation. Mr Atkinson's GP diagnosed the condition as gangrene and he underwent amputation of his left leg from below knee.
The independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman severely criticized the hospital for this treatment. A spokesman for the County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, confirmed that they had written to Atkinson to apologize.
'Since 2001, we have introduced new guidelines for the management of diabetic patients with foot problems in our accident and emergency departments. We believe that these greatly reduce the chance of a similar problem occurring. The ombudsman is aware of these changes and is satisfied with them.'