In recent years, the amount of people undergoing laser refractive surgery – often referred to laser eye surgery – has increased significantly.
In most cases the operation is safe and passes without any issue; however it is estimated that 5% of cases can result in complications. In such cases, it is important that compensation is claimed to reflect the damage done by any complications.
How Do I Know If I Have A Claim?
With some people feeling that glasses and contact lenses do not suit their lifestyles, and with an increased amount of clinics offering laser eye surgery at competitive prices, more and more people are opting for laser eye surgery to correct their vision.
Successful laser eye surgery offers a range of benefits; however with the lack of strict regulations on laser eye surgery, people can often find themselves facing serious complications that could affect their vision for the rest of their lives.
Complications that arise from laser eye surgery can result in:
- Serious discomfort around the eyes
- Temporary blurred vision
- Permanent blurred vision
- Permanent blindness
- Long-term double vision, floaters and/or glaring at night
- Eyesight deterioration
- Mild to serious cornea damage
Due to the serious nature of the complications that can arise from laser eye surgery, it is important that individuals who face issues from their surgery seek compensation, so that they can attempt to return their lives to the level it was before the surgical complications.
Claiming against medical negligence – especially relating to surgical complications – can be a daunting thought, however due to the serious nature of the side-effects it is crucial that compensation is sought.
Claims against complications during laser eye surgery are based around medical negligence, which is a term used to describe any action by a healthcare professional that could potentially cause harm or distress.
While undergoing laser eye surgery any of the following scenarios could be classified as medical negligence:
- Authorising surgery despite knowing that a client is ineligible
- Optician fails to make an adequate referral to an appropriate specialist for treatment
- Failure to perform an initial assessment to establish whether there are contraindications to surgery
- Failure to discuss, at length, the procedure, its risks, and the reason for the procedure being undertaken
- Failure to administer necessary tests prior to the surgery
- Failure to recognise issue arising during surgery, as such failing to take the necessary steps to correct the issue
- Failure to properly treat cataracts
- Failure to perform the surgery to a reasonable standard
Due to the lack of strict regulations managing laser surgeries, many of the steps recommended by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) can be ignored, which could cause complications during surgery and could result in a medical negligence claim.
It is crucial that you consider the risks before you undergo laser eye surgery and your optician should be forthcoming about the possible dangers and side effects related to the procedure.
To minimise the risk of any complications, it is advisable that you refer to the RCO's guidelines before you undergo the procedure and you should always ensure you are dealing with a registered ophthalmologist that has specialist training in laser refractive surgery. It is usually cases that do not involve a registered ophthalmologist that can result in a medical negligence claim.
In the event of medical negligence causing long-term injury, the claims process will depend entirely on the circumstances of the case. As most laser eye surgeries are conducted by healthcare professionals, the statutory Duty of Candour applies even in cases where the surgery was not completed at a NHS facility.
As with most medical negligence claims, cases involving laser eye surgery are time sensitive. A claim should be raised as soon as the first problems make themselves known, so that any symptoms can be addressed before they deteriorate any further.
- In the first instance of any medical negligence claim, we will refer our clients to an independent medical professional, who will be able to assess the level of damage caused by the medical negligence. Seeking advice from a medical professional is important for gathering an independent opinion on the scale of the problem and could go a long way to treating symptoms before they worsen
- After the medical expert shares their opinion we will move to gather information pertinent to the case and will establish the details of the claim
- We will contact any individual, facility, or organisations involved in the case and alert them to the claim being made
- In cases where the practice admit blame a settlement may be reached to award reasonable compensation without the need for a court hearing, however if no blame is admitted by the surgery then the case could go to court, where we will argue the points of the case on your behalf
What Compensation Can I Expect?
Much like the claims process, the amount of compensation awarded depends entirely on the merits of the case, the amount of medical negligence at play and the level of injuries caused are the two main factors relating to compensation amount.
For minor injuries that cause temporary loss of vision then you could claim compensation for any loss of earnings while you were unable to work. At the other end of the scale, patients that permanently lose their eyesight due to medical negligence could claim for all future loss of earnings, as well as the continued cost of care that arises from the being registered blind.
To find out how much you can expect from your specific case, get in touch with one of our medical negligence specialists, who will be able to advice on the individual merits of your case.
Medical negligence claims often involve a complicated legal process. Most healthcare institutions have a team of lawyers on hand to handle any medical negligence claims against their client. It can be daunting facing these legal professionals alone, which is why it's advisable to seek independent advice from a team of specialists who can represent your best interests.
At Simpson Millar, our medical negligence team have experience in dealing with a variety of healthcare professionals and they understand the necessity of providing clients with the rehabilitation services that can negate the effects of medical negligence.
Call our medical negligence claims solicitors today to discuss
if you have a case for compensation on Freephone: 0808 129 3320 or use our free,
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