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Medical Negligence

Elderly man receives £75K after negligent eye surgery

Written by Francesca Paul, Associate & Clinical Negligence Solicitor

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July 9, 2024

The incident

 

This group action claim involved our 80-year-old client, who suffered from poor vision and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a common eye condition that affects the middle part of your vision. Whilst on a routine trip to the optician it was noted that he had a problem and was referred to the defendant hospital for further tests. Whilst at the Ophthalmology appointment at the hospital it was noted that the client would need cataract surgery in both eyes. The right eye was scheduled to be operated on for June 2019. This operation went smoothly and our client’s eye healed properly.

Our client was then scheduled in for the same procedure to be done to his left eye. Prior to surgery, our client was known to have small pupils, for which Iris hooks were used to complete the procedure. It was noted that the client should have been administered a higher dosage of the relevant medication to prepare him for surgery instead of using the iris hooks. However, after having the procedure done our client noted he was suffering from soreness in the region and blurred vision.

 

The aftermath

Due to the complications with his left eye surgery, our client was referred to regional corneal services at another hospital to see whether there were other treatment options available. Our client was suffering from pain in the eye and continued vision problems. Our client was advised he would now need a corneal transplant. Once the corneal transplant was done, the client continued to suffer from severe vision loss and issues. He was told his sight would not improve and there was nothing more that could be done.  It transpired that our client had suffered negligence due to the substandard level of care and treatment he had received at the first, defendant hospital. A myriad of failures were highlighted on behalf of the hospital.

Instead of the premature, invasive surgical procedures our client had been offered for cataracts, he should have first been consulted and considered for a nonsurgical, conservative approach. The primary cause of our client’s poor vision had been due to his age-related degenerative condition and not due to cataracts or lens capacity.  The hospital had taken an incorrect approach to our clients vision problem and decided to proceed with cataract surgery in both eyes.

Furthermore, there had been a failure to undertake the surgery to an appropriate standard. There had been a failure to adequately protect the client’s left cornea from trauma during surgery, which ultimately led to a corneal injury and further surgery at the second hospital.

There had been a lack of preoperative preparation in terms of administering the correct dosage of medication and postoperatively there was a failure to manage our clients care and records adequately. There had been delays in referring the client to the regional corneal services (second hospital) for further investigation. It was also noted that the defendant hospital was unable to provide an explanation as to how our client sustained the corneal injury during his left eye cataract surgery.

 

The case

The case was handled by Priya Singh.

Our argument was that firstly, had our client’s left cataract surgery been completed to a reasonable standard, then our client would not have needed a corneal transplant, suffered severe pain and suffering following the surgery and extreme visual impairment; which ultimately caused him major stress and anxiety.

Secondly, had he been referred to the regional corneal services in a timely manner, then the relevant surgery would have been undertaken in a timely manner and would have helped our client avoid further suffering with the loss of vision and a protracted period of recovery.

A letter of claim was sent to the defendant hospital setting out our allegations to which the Defendants responded, denying all fault. The corneal transplant was a failure and our client’s vision was now permanently diminished, significantly impacting our clients quality of life.

 

 

The case outcome

This case was settled for £75,000 in damages but with no admission of fault from the defendant hospital.  The sum awarded allowed our client to factor in any future care needs and allowed him to invest in making changes to enable him to have a good quality of life, despite the negligence he has suffered to his vision.