Mrs W wanted to improve her vision with laser eye surgery, but she never expected she’d be left with damaged eyesight for the rest of her life.
In 2003 Mrs W decided she wanted to know more about her options for laser eye surgery due to being short-sighted. She decided to attend a free consultation at a private laser eye surgery clinic in Manchester. Unfortunately at the consultation she was told they would be unable to perform eye surgery as they were not satisfied with her retinas, which were damaged due to her short-sightedness. The clinic advised she would need to get her eyes checked by a medical professional before any surgery would be able to take place.
Following the appointment, Mrs W was referred by her GP to a specialist Consultant Ophthalmologist at her local hospital. The Consultant checked her retinas and took photographs to examine the backs of her eyes. Several weeks later, Mrs W returned for the results and was advised there were no issues with her retinas and she would be fine to go ahead with the surgery.
The Consultant Ophthalmologist advised Mrs W he had been given permission to perform phakic intra-ocular lens insertion and stated the procedure would be a much better option for her as it is fully reversible. Mrs W opted for this as opposed to laser eye surgery upon being advised it was reversible.
In July, Mrs W returned to the hospital to have the phakic intra-ocular lenses inserted. She had the surgery under local anaesthetic and was allowed home the same day. Post-operatively Mrs W felt everything was fine, her eyes were very sore but this was expected. The soreness cleared up within a matter of days with the help of steroid and pressure eye drops. Initially, Mrs W’s eyesight was very good following the surgery and she doesn’t recall having any immediate issues.
However, within a year or so, Mrs W began experiencing problems with her left eye, it had become sore and her vision was slightly distorted. She had attended 6 monthly follow-up appointments at the hospital and underwent normal eye examinations, only being given a few courses of eye drops; however she didn’t notice any improvement. The eye drops stabilised the condition of her left eye but the soreness didn’t go away.
Three years after the surgery in 2006, Mrs W was diagnosed with a left eye oedema, a build-up of fluid in the in the centre of the retina. She was provided with sodium chloride eye drops to try and clear this, but it failed to do so. Eventually, she was informed she would need to undergo a corneal transplant in her left eye and over the following year Mrs W continued to attend regular appointments with her Consultant Ophthalmologist.
On several occasions, Mrs W questioned if the eye problems could be related to the phakic lenses, but was advised they were fine. At this point the vision in her left eye was so poor; she’d stopped participating in some of her hobbies, such as exercise and swimming. She was now relying on her right eye for most of her vision.
A year on from being diagnosed with an oedema, Mrs W underwent a corneal graft with full cataract surgery. She needed to be off work for three weeks however post-operatively she only experienced pain from time to time when the stitches worked their way out of her eye.
Mrs W continued to attend check-ups every six months at the hospital for several years. However, in April 2014 she began experiencing a sharp, gritty pain in her right eye. She was unable to make an appointment so waited until June for her regular check-up.
At her appointment, Mrs W was unfortunately advised by a doctor that she had an oedema in her right eye. She was referred to a different consultant and given eye drops in the meantime.
Mrs W then attended a different hospital to see another Consultant Ophthalmologist who confirmed the oedema in her right eye. The Consultant inserted a contact lens bandage to relieve the pain and help protect the eye, however by this point the vision in her right eye had deteriorated.
A further referral was made for Mrs W to go to the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for aftercare and further treatment; however, she was only able to get an appointment in November. As a result of this Mrs W chose to write a letter of complaint to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) due to the problems with the phakic lenses. They responded advising there was nothing wrong with her lenses.
In September 2014 Mrs W attended a second appointment with the Consultant Ophthalmologist and was sent to undergo topography in her left eye and she was advised the phakic lens would need to be removed from the right eye. Following the topography appointment, Mrs W was informed the Consultant Ophthalmologist had gone on long-term leave.
In November 2014, she attended her appointment at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital with a new Ophthalmologist Surgeon. He advised her she would need a corneal transplant in her right eye and a lens for her left eye to help with her vision.
Towards the end of November, Mrs W had the phakic lens removed from her right eye and was listed to undergo corneal transplant on the same date, however, due to donor shortage this surgery didn’t take place until the following year, in October 2015.
Following the corneal transplant, Mrs W made the decision to contact Fletchers as she felt the treatment she received wasn’t up to standard. We investigated Mrs W’s case and secured a settlement of £122,289 when the Trust admitted that Mrs W had suffered loss of vision, pain, and discomfort as a result of the negligence and accepting that the loss of vision from her left eye in 2006 and the need for subsequent corneal grafts are the consequence of the failing to monitor her endothelial count.
Since the negligent treatment, Mrs W now continues to attend regular check-ups and is still under the care of the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Unfortunately whilst she can still see out of her right eye, it is patchy and distorted. It also gets very dry and sore and there is no lens available which would assist her vision. Mrs W continues to use steroid and pressure drops to ensure the graft is not rejected and to reduce the pressure in her eye. She is also unable to drive in the dark due to glare and light sensitivity and has only been able to return to work on a part-time basis as she can’t look at a computer screen for a long period of time.
We know the compensation won’t change what has happened to Mrs W, but we hope it will allow her to look forward to the future and provide her with some financial stability. Hannah Ashcroft, a Medical Negligence Solicitor at Fletchers, handled Mrs W’s case and commented on the outcome,
We are delighted to have secured this result for Mrs W to compensate her for the years of pain and suffering she has endured together with the financial impact on her life so that she can enjoy the best possible future. This case serves to highlight the devastating impact mistakes have on a patient’s entire life and it has been a privilege to act on Mrs W’s behalf.
Following the settlement of her case, Mrs W passed on her kind words about Hannah and what the compensation means to her,
I have received the payment and I am very grateful for your help in this. I would never have received such a good result without you. I know that my eyes will never be right but this helps a lot as it will be more difficult for me the older I get. The compensation I received will help me with my future needs. We had an excellent outcome. Thank you so much.