Case study: poor care for giant cell arteritis causes permanent blindness
Derek, Milton Keynes
Pensioner Derek was left permanently blind after a series of hospital blunders meant that he did not receive urgent treatment for a rapidly deteriorating eye condition called giant cell arteritis. Eddie Jones, head of the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence, represented Derek in his fight for justice and he was later awarded £750,000 in compensation to help him to cope with this significant disability.
Failure to refer for immediate treatment after vision problems
Derek’s ordeal began when he began to suffer double vision one weekend which was causing him difficulties. Worried that something may be seriously wrong, Derek went to A&E to get checked out.
The nursed who examined Derek told him the specialist eye clinic was closed due to it being a weekend and he would have to return on Monday. Derek spent an uncomfortable weekend struggling with his sight and worrying about what was wrong.
Delay in diagnosis at the eye clinic
Eager to be seen by a doctor at the eye clinic Derek returned on Monday as instructed. The examining doctor went through a series of questions about Derek’s symptoms and Derek found that he was answering yes to almost all. Amongst others this included tingling on his scalp, a classic sign of giant cell arteritis. Derek gave some blood samples and was told he would be contacted if they revealed anything untoward.
Further delay in hospital admission
The doctor did call Derek just two days later and told him he needed to come to the hospital at the earliest possible opportunity. However Derek was unable to drive himself to the hospital and as his wife was away had no way of getting there. Derek explained all this and questioned the possibility of attending hospital the next day. Derek was advised by the doctor that this would be fine and Derek felt relieved that there was obviously nothing so seriously wrong that leaving the appointment until the following day could cause a problem.
Medication prescribed without information
The next day Derek attended the eye clinic in the morning with his wife, however it was a different doctor who examined him. Derek was given the news that he almost certainly had giant cell arteritis and tests would be done to confirm the diagnosis. Derek was given a prescription of tablets to treat the condition but was not given any information about when to commence the course. This meant that Derek did not know that he needed treatment immediately and put off starting the medication until later that night.
Permanent loss of vision
Derek had a terrible night at home as his vision was so disturbed. The next morning he went back to the eye clinic. He could hardly see and was given the devastating news that doctors were now trying to save his vision.
Some of his family came to see him in hospital however by the time they had arrived he could not even see them as his sight had deteriorated at such a fast rate. Sadly the sight loss was permanent and nothing could be done to improve Derek’s vision.
He should have been given treatment at the earliest opportunity but doctors had failed to ensure he received urgent care despite the many worrying signs and symptoms.
Derek is now registered blind but the £750,000 in compensation secured for him by Hospital Negligence’s Eddie Jones has enabled him to purchase the equipment and aids he needs to cope.
We can help you claim if you have also suffered medical negligence
If a family member has suffered blindness or impaired vision because of medical negligence, contact Hospital Negligence today to find out if you can make a claim. Call us on 0800 014 7481, or fill in our contact form. Alternatively, read more about how we can help you.