Clinical Negligence

Damages recovered after patient loses eye following negligent cataract surgery

Oliver Chapman, specialist clinical negligence lawyer, successfully obtained an out of court settlement of £60,000 for the estate of a patient who, prior to his death from unconnected causes, suffered pain and financial losses from negligent ophthalmic treatment.

We were initially instructed by Mr P, who was elderly.  He had undergone right cataract surgery at the William Harvey Hospital.  His eye became inflamed and his vision deteriorated.  He required a lens implant exchange two months later as it was noted that the surgeon had used a lens implant which was significantly too powerful.

Unfortunately, he was then lost to follow up.  The inflammation in his right eye and the pain increased and his vision deteriorated.  He did not receive an appointment for a further four months.  Following that appointment, he underwent extensive treatment at the William Harvey Hospital over the next four months, before he was then referred to St. Thomas’ Hospital.

They immediately commenced treatment for suspected fungal endophthalmitis, which was confirmed shortly after.

Two weeks later, he remained in significant pain and he only had perception of light in the right eye.  He, therefore, underwent evisceration of the right globe under general anaesthetic (removal of the eye).  The scleral remnant healed satisfactorily and arrangements were made for him to have an artificial eye.

Nearly three years after the initial treatment, Mr P developed pneumonia and experienced a sudden deterioration in his health.  He died before his claim was completed.

Prior to his death, we were instructed by Mr P and his medical records were obtained.  We obtained supportive expert evidence but, less than a week after it was received, Mr P died.

The Grant of Probate was obtained and we entered into a new retainer with Mr P’s daughter.  A letter of claim was drafted and served with various allegations made in respect of breach of duty and causation.

NHS Resolution, responding on behalf of the trust, admitted that during the initial procedure an incorrect lens had been inserted causing the need for a lens implant exchange operation.  It was admitted on the balance of probabilities the infection was acquired at the time of the original operation and that the fungal endophthalmitis should have been diagnosed by the trust far earlier.  Had a correct diagnosis been made, Mr P would have retained vision in that eye and he would have avoided the pain and suffering from several avoidable procedures.

We claimed for the pain and suffering experienced by Mr P, but also associated travel expenses, care provided by his daughter, together with moving costs as Mr P was forced to give up his home as the loss of vision in one eye left him vulnerable to falling.  He moved nearer to his daughter.

The parties promptly negotiated an out of court settlement of £60,000.

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