Suffered From A Misdiagnosis? Read Our Expert Article
£375,000 awarded to 69-year-old woman who lost almost all of her sight in her left eye after the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and Specsavers admit liability and failure to correctly diagnose.
The 69 year old lady, Mrs X, first went to her opticians, Specsavers in, Greater Manchester, in December of 2013, complaining of blurred vision. However, she was discharged as the optician could find no cause. 2 weeks later, Mrs X returned to Specsavers as she was experiencing ‘floaters’ in her left eye but was advised that it must have been related to her age and a non-urgent referral was made to see a specialist.
2 weeks later, Mrs X had unfortunately lost vision in her left eye and contacted her opticians again. At this point, she was advised to immediately go to Stepping Hill Hospital, where she was incorrectly diagnosed with ‘lazy eye’. Mrs X’s symptoms continued for a further 5 months, her symptoms were not treated aggressively, and a scan of her eye was not performed until approximately a year later after her first complaint.
After a scan of Mrs X’s eye was carried out, it was reported that she had been suffering from macular oedema, a condition which can cause permanent loss of vision of left untreated for a long period. As part of the legal case, an independent expert ophthalmologist was consulted and it was reported that Specsavers should have referred the Mrs X to specialists upon her first visit with them, and again as an urgent referral when she attended again two weeks later. It was also reported that the hospital ophthalmologist had no supporting documentation to have diagnosed Mrs X with a ‘lazy eye’ and had a scan been performed shortly after her visits, the outcome would have been drastically different – Mrs X could have started steroid injections which would have preserved her eye sight for another 10-15 years.
The Trust contributed £337,500 to the settlement, admitting its delays in treatment caused 80% of Mrs X’s vision loss. Specsavers also admitted failure to refer her to specialists on a more urgent basis in January 2014.
Having won the six-figure settlement, Mrs X is urging people of similar age to demand thorough scans and tests if they are experiencing similar symptoms. Unfortunately, studies have previously shown that as many as 1 in 6 patients are being misdiagnosed in NHS hospitals – failure to carry out appropriate testing is all too common.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered from a misdiagnosis, it is important you seek advice as soon as possible. Northern Ireland has a 3-year limit from when an individual can bring a claim forward, this usually begins from the date of the misdiagnosis or from the date of knowledge of misdiagnosis. Whereas, limitation for Republic of Ireland is 2 years.