Our client was referred to the hospital with reduced vision in her right eye in early 2013 and diagnosed with a cataract as the cause. She subsequently underwent cataract surgery but the problems she experienced with reduced vision in her right eye persisted. Despite this, the hospital did not test her visual fields or follow up on her ongoing vision issues.
In 2014, her optician re-referred her to the hospital and she underwent an MRI scan which revealed a pituitary tumour lying on her optic nerve. The hospital failed to act upon this, due to ongoing eye problems with her vision our client was re-referred to the hospital months later. It was only then that the missed reported tumour was found.
Our client did not have surgery to remove the tumour until the end of 2015. The delay in removing the tumour caused our client’s vision to worsen because of the increased pressure on the optic nerve and it subsequently did not improve once the tumour had been removed. Sadly, experts have advised that our client’s sight loss is permanent, and she is now registered as sight-impaired. In addition to reduced vision, our client also suffers from fatigue, mood swings and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her pituitary gland no longer functioning correctly.
What did we do?
Following our being instructed we obtained independent expert opinions from a consultant neurosurgeon, consultant endocrinologist and consultant ophthalmologist to confirm the cause of our client’s reduced vision. There was an admission of partial liability by the defendant NHS Trust early in the process as they acknowledged that the hospital should have arranged a follow-up appointment after our client raised concerns that her vision had not improved following the cataract surgery. As a result, proceedings did not have to be issued.
Following the admission of liability by the defendant, we applied for an interim payment of £20,000 which enabled our client to purchase a medical information tag, a second stair rail and to improve the lighting and shower in her home with the aim of maximising her ability to continue to live safely and independently. Ultimately, the interim payment allowed our client to adapt her home so she had could carry out everyday life independently and freely in as far as possible.
Following further detailed negotiations, we secured a six-figure settlement for our client.
How did we add value?
As a result of the hospital’s negligence, our client will require considerable support for the remainder of her lifetime and she will always remain vulnerable. The settlement will provide our client with the support and protection of professionals around her throughout her lifetime. Our client will have a buddy when she is out and about and an occupational therapist to assist her to manage the consequences of the loss of sight long term. In addition, we worked with our Private Client team to set up a Personal Injury Trust for our client. The Trust will mean that our client is not disadvantaged in her receipt of the compensation, as it will allow her to hold and manage it so that it is not considered in the assessment of means-tested benefits or care contributions.
This case was handled by Sarah Huntbach, Senior Associate assisted by junior members of the team within the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department.
To find out more about how we can provide support for clinical negligence please contact Sarah Huntbach.
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