£100,000 Compensation for Delayed Eye Treatment

Author:
Jodie Cook
Senior Associate, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
08/01/2021

A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study - Client Situation

Ms S was suffering with pain in her right eye, as well as watering and blurring, so she went to A&E at Russell Hall Hospital in Dudley, West Midlands for help. She was prescribed an eye drop and returned home.

The vision in her right eye had been poor since she was a baby, even when wearing glasses, and she relied heavily on her left eye to see. But in the days after visiting the hospital, she noticed the vision in her left eye was getting worse.

Ms S returned to the hospital and was told she had a cataract, so she was prescribed more drops. Her condition still failed to improve, and eventually, she was referred to City Hospital, where she had a sight test, a scan of the eye, a biopsy of her eyeball and various other tests.

Clinicians found an inflammation in her eye, so she was prescribed more eye drops and steroid tablets. She didn’t notice a difference at first and went to get it checked at the hospital every week.

At one appointment, the clinician confirmed that while the inflammation was still there, it was starting to go down. Ms S was excited at this point, as she believed her sight was coming back. However, the specialist also noted that she could see a scar at the back of her eye, and that she would remain partially sighted.

The vision in her right eye is now back to how it was before, but her loss of vision in her left eye is permanent.

Ms S already suffered from osteoporosis and relied on daily support from her husband. However, the worsening of her sight has left her with greater care needs and she can’t do many of the tasks she could do before, such as washing, cooking and getting washed and dressed.

How We Helped

Before the medical treatment failings, Ms S could see out of her left eye clearly, with the help of long-distance glasses, and could easily read and drive a car. However, this became impossible, and she believed the worsening in her left-sided vision was because of Russell Hall Hospital’s alleged negligence.

She got in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors to claim compensation from the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust. We agreed to represent her, put together a case and approached the Trust with the details of our claim.

We believed one key error was the ophthalmologist not arranging a review and/or examination of Ms S within 2 or 3 days of her initial assessment, or arranging for her to attend the eye clinic during this time.

It was crucial that she was properly examined, but had instead been prescribed the weakest strength of steroid drop.

We were concerned that clinicians also didn’t consider that the issues affecting her right eye might affect the other eye too, and also had concerns that they didn’t check for conditions such as retinal detachment when the signs were there.

We argued that if these failings hadn’t happened, she would probably have received the aggressive treatment she needed or been referred to specialists at Birmingham Midland Eye Centre straight away. This would have prevented the deterioration of her left eye altogether or stopped it from getting worse so quickly.

Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust denied liability (responsibility) at first, arguing that Ms S had missed various appointments in previous years, including diabetic retinal screening appointments. We disputed this and they agreed to settle the case out of Court.

The Outcome 

Following negotiations with Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, we secured a compensation settlement of £100,000 for Ms S.

This will help to cover the cost of the additional care that she’ll need for the rest of her life, and the extra responsibilities her husband will face as her main carer.

The compensation settlement was calculated to reflect the pain, suffering and distress she experienced as a result of the medical treatment errors.

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