The NHS has given £3.2 million in sight loss compensation to a glaucoma patient after a series of impeded appointments and a lack of further assessment left them blind. Although the case was diagnosed in 2016 after an initial eye appointment with an optician and a specialist ophthalmic clinic, action was taken too late to prevent the 35-year-old woman from going blind.
How much sight loss compensation did she receive?
The woman received £3.2 million in sight loss compensation. This was decided following a review, during which the NHS stated that if there had been a quicker lead in follow-up appointments, the patient would not have become blind, and the case of glaucoma could have been treated more effectively.
Why was the NHS liable?
Even though there had been no history of glaucoma within her family, the patient in question was diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma a month after her first ophthalmic session. Although this led to an urgent referral, the patient did not receive notice of further treatment or help for her condition for three and a half months at Southampton Eye Hospital, which specialises in diseases of the eye and treatments for them.
When the patient did finally get an appointment, she was given eye drops and the promise of future appointments on a regular basis at the centre. Drops are a common treatment for the condition; however, the woman did not receive any communication thereafter about potential appointments for a period of 10 months, between November 2016 and September 2017. Reporting that her eyesight was deteriorating and that the eye drops were not as effective as hoped, she called the centre several times asking for further treatment, but no appointments were given to her.
Although she was seen twice more in 2017 (when her intraocular pressure was 26mmHg in both of her eyes), and three times in January 2018, no extra treatment or surgery was given. It was only when she went blind in February 2018 that laser eye treatment was provided. However, by this time, it had no effect on her.
What does this mean for the NHS?
The fact that the NHS admitted to a breach of duty highlights a larger issue, which is evidenced by an NHS Serious Investigation Report. This report showed that no clinical risk factor for individuals was assessed at any time and this allowed conditions to worsen without treatment. This has led to the Healthcare Safety Investigation to begin a national scale report on the treatment of glaucoma, with professionals concerned about the delay in appointments for serious conditions across the country.
What should you do if you have experienced medical negligence?
Here at The Medical Negligence Experts, we look to represent cases of serious medical negligence. You will be considered eligible if medical negligence has led to your condition (or a loved one’s condition) worsening or becoming fatal. Contact us and we can guide you through the NHS complaints service, as well as help you receive the compensation that you deserve for your condition.