Delayed diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis led to total sight loss

Moore Barlow’s Clinical Negligence team helped to secure compensation for a woman who lost her sight after delays in diagnosing giant cell arteritis.

Our client presented to a regional eye unit with partial loss of vision in her right eye. The doctor attending her failed to undertake an adequate history or examination and negligently put her loss of vision down to ‘dry eye’ and she was discharged with lubricating eye drops. 24 hours later, she represented with loss of vision in both eyes. This was promptly diagnosed as Giant Cell Arteritis and she was referred back to the eye unit for urgent treatment. Treatment for this condition is high dose intravenous steroids but sadly by the time this was administered, it was too late to save or restore any vision and our client was registered blind. The Trust admitted liability, accepting that the vision in her left eye would not likely have been lost with timely diagnosis and treatment.

This was devastating for our client and her family. Sight loss has an enormous impact on confidence, independence and quality of life. Whilst her compensation cannot restore her sight, it helps to be able to engage professional advice, equipment and a companion to help her to rebuild her life and gain back some independence.

It was very important to our client and her family that lessons were learned by the Trust and measures put in place to avoid such avoidable sight loss for any future patients. Our client’s daughter was instrumental in instigating an investigation by the Trust, and we obtained confirmation for our client and her family that the recommendations made following the investigation had been implemented to improve patient safety going forward.

Through her great interpersonal skills, rapport was developed and retained very quickly with myself, my brother and most importantly my mother. Denise has an authentic and empathetic approach which in turn creates trust. We have been in no doubt that Denise acted in our best interest at all times, in a highly professional manner. This eased the stress levels as we have navigated through the negligence claim process. Paramount to me was that the “lessons learnt” aspect of the claim was equal in importance to the compensation and this has and continues to be a shared intent.


If you have suffered due to a delayed or misdiagnosed medical condition, our clinical negligence solicitors are here to help. See our Ophthalmology claims page for more information.

For more information about Giant Giant cell arteritis (GCA).