Claudia, aged 67, is diabetic. She developed diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy in both eyes.
She was seen by a consultant in April 1998. He recommended surgery, namely vitrectomy, membrane peeling and surgical enlargement of the posterior capsulotomy with a view to improving her vision.
The notes stated that “efforts will be made to expedite the surgery.”
Claudia was seen again in March 1999, by which time she was noted to have a shallow retinal detachment and her vision had declined from 6/24 to 6/60. She attended further clinics in July and December 1999. The surgery was not performed until 30 March 2000, almost exactly 2 years after being put on the list.
Post-operatively Claudia was advised that she would need regular reviews. These did not happen. Appointments were cancelled on the 12 April, 5 July, 12 July and 25 October 2000.
Eventually, Claudia was seen on 18th March 2001. By this time she had no perception of light vision in the left eye with a total retinal detachment. The condition of the left eye was inoperable. She was left effectively blind in that eye.
We successfully contended that there was negligence on the part of the hospital for the delay in performing surgery and the lack of post-operative follow-up.
The expert ophthalmic surgeons disagreed, however, on the level of vision Claudia would have had but for the breach of duty.
The defendant’s expert evidence was that but for the negligence Claudia would have had 6/24 vision. Our own expert was of the view that Claudia could have expected to achieve 6/18 binocular vision with competent care.
In January 2006 we received an offer to settle Claudia’s claim in the sum of £33,592.84
The trial was listed to commence on 21 June 2006.
In May 2006 Samantha Critchley settled the claim in the sum of £91,407.16 so that Claudia would receive £90,000.00 after deductions for recoverable welfare benefits.
After the case Claudia’s daughter said:-
"I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work on my mothers case. We are very pleased with the outcome.
"Although no amount of money can really compensate for her eyesight, hopefully it will enable her to make her life more comfortable. It took a while to get an outcome but you really showed your dedication in getting a decent settlement.
"Thank you again. My mother has not stopped singing your praises”
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