Oliver Chapman, specialist personal injury lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) offices has secured compensation for a claimant who developed double vision following the delayed diagnosis of an aneurysm.
The claimant was in her 50s when, in the spring, she started to experience double vision, particularly in her left eye. She attended her GP but after her condition deteriorated she went to the Bexley Urgent Care Unit on 6 June. She attended the eye referral unit which was part of South London Healthcare NHS Trust.
She saw a nurse practitioner who told her that, notwithstanding her symptoms, there was nothing that could be done and she was referred to a specialist on a non-urgent basis. She received an appointment with an ophthalmologist which took place 12 weeks later.
She saw a consultant ophthalmic surgeon on 30 September. The surgeon did not elicit a history of double vision, nor did she examine the claimant’s double vision. She made no reference to the Bexley Urgent Care Unit notes which mentioned the history of double vision. The claimant was reassured that there was no problem and discharged.
The symptoms continued to deteriorate and on 12 June the following year she attended her GP who noted an 18 month history of intermittent double vision. A subsequent MRI dated 7 October found a 2.5 x 2.3 cm aneurysm arising from the left internal carotid artery, compressing the left optic chaism. The presence of the aneurysm was deemed the cause of the claimant’s double vision.
She was referred to Kings College Hospital where she underwent surgical repair of the aneurysm. Unfortunately, the prolonged pressure on the third cranial nerve led to a permanent cranial nerve palsy and permanent double vision.
We obtained supportive medical evidence from a consultant ophthalmic surgeon who identified breaches of duty both on the part of the ERU, for its failure to refer the claimant promptly and secondly in respect of the surgeon who did not take a proper history and undertake a proper examination. The report of a consultant neurological and spinal surgeon indicated that the delay in diagnosis caused a delay in treatment of around 12 months.
Liability was denied and court proceedings were issued. The defendant continued to deny the case but a favourable settlement was subsequently negotiated.
Oliver Chapman specialises in ophthalmic negligence cases. If you would like to speak to Oliver about a potential case, or have a general query about any clinical negligence, please contact him on 01892 701234 in confidence.