Helen Morland, Partner in our Clinical Negligence team, has acted on behalf of a claimant who received substandard treatment from an eye hospital. There was a failure to appreciate she was suffering from a cornea infection in the right eye which resulted in permanent blindness and the development of an adverse psychiatric illness.
The Claimant lived alone and was dependent upon her sister. She had a number of chronic comorbidities but had good bilateral vision.
The claimant was on holiday in the UK when she attended A&E and reported a three-day history of right eye pain, sufficient to wake her at night, as well as pain on eye movements, blurred vision and photophobia. Her right-sided visual acuity and colour vision were moderately reduced, and she was suffering a loss of field vision in the upper half of the right visual field. Pupillary reaction to light was not tested.
The Claimant was prescribed steroid eye drops and advised to attend an eye clinic on her return home which she did four days later. By this time, she had lost the sight in her right eye. She was diagnosed with recurrent scleritis with optic nerve dysfunction and treated with high dose intravenous and oral steroids over the following days and weeks, but her right sided vision could not be restored.
Helen was instructed by the Claimant to investigate a potential clinical negligence claim. Expert evidence was obtained from a Consultant Ophthalmologist which was supportive of the claim.
Expert evidence was also obtained from a Consultant Psychiatrist as the claimant suffered from depression and anxiety following the loss to her sight.
A detailed Letter of Claim was served on the Defendant identifying numerous breaches of duty including failing to assess pupillary reactions to light; failing to diagnose corneal infection complicated by optic nerve inflammation; and failing to give intravenous steroids.
It was alleged that in the absence of substandard treatment the Claimant’s vision would have been preserved and she would have avoided permanent right eye blindness and limitation of eye movement. She lost confidence in her already limited mobility and her ability to get around safely outdoors. She also suffered depression and anxiety attacks due to the possibility of total blindness should she lose the sight in her left eye.
Following receipt of the Claimant’s detailed allegations, the Defendant made admissions of liability. Following negotiation, a six-figure settlement was reached and the Defendant also provided a Letter of Apology.
Helen comments “I am delighted to have reached settlement in this case where a misdiagnosis resulted in loss of sight and significant anxiety and depression. The compensation received will assist my client in her life moving forward and allow access to commercial care and support”.
If you know anybody who has suffered in a similar way, or you yourself believe you have a potential claim, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Helen on 0191 232 8345.