Substantial Compensation for Delayed Glaucoma Diagnosis

Author:
David Thomas
Partner, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
07/10/2019

A Medical Negligence Case Study - Client Situation

In 2007, Stephen Colfer started experiencing falls and went to the optician, who suspected he may have glaucoma linked to his diabetes.

He was referred to the Northwick Park Hospital Clinic, run by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, but no evidence of glaucoma was identified. As a result, he was discharged and no follow-up checks, such as annual or biannual optometric re-examinations, were arranged or recommended.

Over the following seven years, Mr Colfer had no further examinations of his eyes, other than routine screenings every year because of his diabetes. He continued to have falls, but due to the reassurance he’d received in 2007, he didn’t consider eye disease as the cause. However, in 2014, he began suffering more serious falls and started noticing blurred vision in his right eye.

After seeing his GP and an optician, he was seen by an ophthalmologist, who diagnosed him with primary open-angle glaucoma. Mr Colfer was subsequently reviewed at Moorfields Glaucoma Clinic, after which a consultant ophthalmologist told his GP he should have been advised to have thorough eye check-ups each year back in 2007.

As a consequence, Mr Colfer decided to complain to Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust about the care he’d received seven years earlier. He underwent an operation to stabilise the pressure in his right eye in March 2015, but is likely to lose his remaining visual fields over the next five to ten years as a result of his glaucoma.

How We Helped

Mr Colfer decided to take legal action against the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and approached our Medical Negligence Solicitors for help with getting compensation. His case was taken on by Medical Negligence Lawyer David Thomas, with the assistance of paralegal Chantelle Cooper.

When presenting the case, Lawyer David Thomas argued that had Mr Colfer undergone annual or biannual optometric re-examinations, his glaucoma would have been diagnosed by 2010, when it would have been far less advanced.

Due to the failure to diagnose and treat the condition before 2014, Mr Colfer’s loss of sight has been accelerated by a period of ten years, and his deteriorating sight is likely to impact on every aspect of his life. For instance, he is now unable to drive, safely cross roads or take public transport without help. Furthermore, his ability to walk and negotiate steps is already noticeably impaired, which is a problem as he lives alone in a second-floor flat.

Mr Colfer will require significant professional care and assistance as his sight continues to deteriorate, as well as more suitable housing with ground-floor access, special adaptations and modified equipment to assist with everyday activities.

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted breach of duty and accepted an offer of mediation with our client.

This was highly successful in this case, as it enabled both sides to meet amicably and come to a fair and reasonable compensation settlement before substantial legal costs could be incurred. As an added bonus, Mr Colfer received an apology and reassurances that lessons had been learned from his experience.

The Outcome

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust offered to pay substantial compensation settlement, which was accepted by our client Mr Colfer.

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