£3.2 million compensation received following failure to treat primary open-angle glaucoma

The Claimant pursued a claim for damages against XXX Trust for their failure to treat primary open-angle glaucoma as a result of which the Claimant had gone blind.

The Claimant had no family history of glaucoma. She noticed that her eyesight was beginning to deteriorate at the end of 2015 and in June 2016 after an optical check-up she was referred to the ophthalmic clinic. The Claimant attended the ophthalmic clinic a month later and was diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma and was advised to attend XXX Eye Hospital for treatment. Although an urgent referral was made to the eye unit the Claimant did not receive an appointment to be seen at the eye unit for 3¬Ω months.

Although the Claimant was prescribed eye-drops for her condition and was told that she would require frequent appointments the eye unit failed to ensure that the Claimant was seen and from 30 November 2016 up until 19 September 2017 the Claimant received no appointments in spite of the fact that she telephoned the eye unit on several occasions complaining that her eye sight was deteriorating and that her eye-drops were painful.

By the time the Claimant received an eye clinic appointment in September 2017 her intraocular pressures were extremely high. She was told that she would be reviewed in a month’s time. The Claimant was reviewed on 21 November 2017, 12 January 2018, 18 January 2018 and 31 January 2018 when no action was taken to correct her intraocular pressures and no surgery was undertaken by the eye clinic.

By the time the Claimant attended the glaucoma clinic in February 2018 the Claimant was blind.

Although the Claimant subsequently underwent laser treatment the clinicians were unable to improve her eyesight and the Claimant was registered as severely sight-impaired (blind).

The Claimant was one of 16 patients who had been treated at the same eye clinic and who had suffered significant preventable harm. A Serious Investigation Report had found that the Trust had failed to enter all patients for out-of-time appointments onto a spreadsheet and had failed to assess the individual patient’s clinical risk factor. Not only were patients not being seen when they should have been, but no-one was identifying their particular risk of deterioration in sight. The unit had also failed to adhere to their standard operating procedure. An apology was made by the Trust for their failure to treat the Claimant’s condition.

The Claimant’s claim was that had she undergone surgery by November/December 2016 some of her sight would have been saved and she would not have gone blind. The Claimant was the mother of twins who at the material time were 12 months old and she subsequently gave birth to a further child in 2017.

After a Letter of Claim was forwarded to the relevant Trust there was a full admission of breach of duty and the Trust also admitted that had the Claimant undergone surgery before the end of 2016 although she would have been sight impaired she would not have been severely sight-restricted i.e. blind.

The Trust granted interim payments to the Claimant during the course of the litigation and the claim was settled at a mediation within 15 months of instructions being received. The Claimant’s claim was for inter alia pain, injury and suffering, care costs, loss of earnings, accommodation costs, childcare, rehabilitation.

The claim settled in the sum of £3.2 million.