A man who suffered devastating damage to his eye during a botched surgical procedure said he has ‘grave concerns’ about whether lessons have been learnt after the hospital that treated him failed to publish the findings of an investigation into what happened despite admitting fault.
Simon Hewitt from Bromley was just 47 when he first experienced issues with his right eye – including flashing lights and what are known as ‘floaters’. He was later diagnosed with a retinal detachment and a retinal tear.
He was referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London for treatment, and later admitted for surgery to correct the problems in July 2016. However, due to a failure to monitor the pressure of the fluid on the eye during the procedure, he suffered catastrophic damage including permanent loss of vision.
Mr Hewitt went on to instruct Medical Negligence Solicitors at law firm Simpson Millar to help investigate what went wrong and whether more could have been done to prevent his injuries. Yet while the hospital trust has since issued a full admission of liability (fault) he says he has never received an apology, or an explanation.
The lack of correspondence has left him struggling to accept that lessons have been learnt and that others will not suffer in the same way he has in the future.
He said, “I know that things can go wrong when you go into surgery, but at the very least you expect the medical team to know what they are doing and to carry out the most basic tasks to help protect their patients.
“In this case, the Trust accepted a breach in the duty of care I received, but the details surrounding that are still unclear, and it’s hard to live with the injuries and not really know what happened and whether lessons have been learnt.
“I also struggle with the lack of an apology. It makes me feel as though no one is really bothered by what happened.”
Mr Hewitt is a graphic designer by trade, working in the print business in a role that relies on excellent vision to carry out work that requires close attention to detail. Following the deterioration of his eyesight he struggled to do some parts of his job.
Mr Hewitt added, “I struggle with everyday tasks which I once completed with ease. Driving, accessing public transport, using computers at work, completing household chores – it has all become incredibly difficult. The past 4 years have seen me lose much of my independence.
“I had been looking to advance in my career before this all happened, but losing my vision in one eye, and having my confidence completely stripped away, has put to bed any possibility of this.”
“Though I am pleased to have gotten an admission of liability, I am still desperate for answers as to why all of this happened, and I have grave concerns about whether lessons have actually be learnt.”
Dino Enahoro, a Senior Medical Negligence Solicitor at Simpson Millar who represented Mr Hewitt, today backed calls for the hospital trust to publish any findings of an investigation into the circumstances that led to his injuries to help provide ‘closure and much needed reassurance’.
He said, “The damage caused to Mr Hewitt’s eye has had a huge impact on his physical and mental wellbeing. It’s affected his confidence, his quality of life and his ability to do his job.
“While we welcome the Trust’s engagement on the matter, and the full admission of liability, the lack of real engagement on a personal level has left a bitter taste in my client’s mouth.
“In medical negligence cases such as this a compensation care package is simply one aspect of a claim. Many clients are also desperate for answers, and a sense of closure that can only come with genuine recognition of the suffering and loss experienced by means of an apology.
“We would urge Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to respond to this, to provide reassurance to future patients that lessons have been learnt, and to help Mr Hewitt draw a line under what has happened to him.”
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