Clinical Negligence

Compensation recovered for failure to diagnose diseased retina

This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Clinical Negligence team who recently recovered an undisclosed sum for a gentleman who suffered a complication after cataract surgery at Pembury Hospital.

Right eye cataract surgery was performed without complication and 15 months later left eye cataract surgery was performed. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after left eye surgery, J’s left eye vision was deteriorating. J was unhappy with his treatment and sought a second opinion.

Cystic macular oedema and thickening was diagnosed and treated initially with medication and then with laser treatment. Although this resulted in some improvement to the vision in his left eye, it was significantly worse than surgery. J’s overall vision was affected dramatically.

There was evidence of treatable macular disease that should have been acted upon before cataract surgery. This had particular relevance to the likely final visual outcome because it made it likely that macular oedema would complicate post-operative care. On finding maculopathy in the left eye before surgery, normal practice would have been to treat this first rather than proceeding to cataract surgery.

Signs of treatable macular disease after surgery should also have been acted upon. A history of diabetic retinopathy and the left macular changes noted pre-operatively should have alerted the doctors that post-operative macular oedema was very likely and provision for its management should have been. Fundus fluorescein angiography carried out a couple of weeks after surgery showed that treatable maculopathy was evident but was missed.

Had the treatable condition been acted upon before surgery, J would not have suffered the avoidable lamellar macular hole which might deteriorate significantly and result in the loss of the central vision of his injured eye. This risk of deterioration was attributable purely to the failure to treat the pre-operative macular haemorrhage and such risk would not exist had the pre-operative macular haemorrhage been treated as it should have been.

The case was defended but settlement was reached in J’s favour which allowed him to move on.

Jonathan Herbert has significant experience of dealing with ophthalmic case cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case involving cataract surgery or you have a general query about medical negligence contact him on 01892 701226 in confidence.

We have one of the largest and most experienced specialist medical negligence teams in Southern England including London. Our team of highly experienced lawyers has the depth and range of expertise essential in this sensitive and often complex area of law. Our clinical negligence team is very proud to be ranked Number 1 in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK.

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