The Issue with Opthalmic Negligence and a Vision Blindness Claim..
The complexity of the structure of the eye, its fragility and delicacy of its tissue means that potential injury as a result of negligent surgery or negligent treatments is an ever present danger. A Vision Blindness Claim for either complete or partial loss of vision is still frankly and thankfully rare. Consultant Opthalmic Experts tend to be highly conscious of the potential for adverse outcomes. This of course, doesn’t mean that negligence doesn’t happen, it means that it is rare.
When Negligence Occours, it is rarely a simple outcome.
Here, (above depending on what device you are viewing this on) we have listed some of the most frequently recurring eye problems, not all of these are related to the issues of surgery or a vision blindness claim. For most people, the fear of eye injury or even loss of sight is about the worst possible nightmare. If you have suffered and think you may have either a vision blindness claim or an eye injury whilst seeking treatment, it is most horrific situation and frequently one that leaves you without any easy exits.
Call today or use the contact box to initiate a conversation if you feel that you have a potential a vision blindness claim or signficant eye injury.
Common Opthalmic Conditions leading to a Vision Blindness Claim.
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Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration, often reffered to as age-related macular degeneration, is a disorder associated generally with the natural process of aging and results in damage to the central vision. Central vision is for daily tasks such as driving and operating machinery etc. MD affects the macula, which is the central part the retina that allows the eye to see fine details. There are two forms of the condition—wet and dry.
Wet MD is when blood vessels behind the retina start to grow underneath the macula itself, ultimately this can lead to fluid leaking out. Bleeding and scarring from these abnormal blood vessels causes damage and lead to rapid central vision loss. An early symptom of wet MD is that straight lines appear to be wavy.
Dry MD is when the macula thins overtime as part of aging process, gradually blurring central vision. The dry form is more common and accounts for 70–90% of cases of MD and it progresses more slowly than the wet form. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye. Dry MD generally affects both eyes. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is drusen.
Drusen are tiny yellow or white deposits under the retina. They often are found in people aged 60 years and older. The presence of small drusen is normal and does not cause vision loss. However, the presence of large and more numerous drusen raises the risk of developing advanced dry MD or wet MD. Often a complicating factor in a vision blindness claim WMD can be either a result of an excerbating injury or can be naturally occouring.
Cataracts is when a clouding of the eye’s lens takes place over time and is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, it is also a cause of vision loss in the United Kingdom. Cataracts can occur at any age because of a variety of causes, and can be present at birth. Although treatment for the removal of cataract is widely available, lack of awareness and reluctance to complain often, prevent many people from receiving the proper treatment at the right time. A vision blindness claim involving cataracts is relatively rare as a first condition but can form as a consequnece of poor medication choices or delay in treatment.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of diabetes. It is a leading cause of blindness in adults. It is characterised by progressive damage to the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that is necessary for good vision. DR progresses through four stages, mild nonproliferative retinopathy (microaneurysms), moderate nonproliferative retinopathy (blockage in some retinal vessels), severe nonproliferative retinopathy (more vessels are blocked leading to deprived retina from blood supply leading to growing new blood vessels), and proliferative retinopathy (most advanced stage). Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
The risks of DR are reduced through disease management that includes good control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid abnormalities. Early diagnosis of DR and timely treatment reduce the risk of vision loss; however, as many as 50% of patients are not getting their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective. This issue is often part of a multi faceted action, not just vision blindess claim but also perhaps one leading from poor diabetic managment.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, recent findings now show that glaucoma can occur with normal eye pressure. With early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. The regular cause of a mismanagment action or a delay in diagnosis action glaucoma appears frequently in a typical vision blindness claim.
There are two major categories “open angle” and “closed angle” glaucoma. Open angle, is a chronic condition that progress slowly over long period of time without the person noticing vision loss until the disease is very advanced, that is why it is called “sneak thief of sight.” Angle closure can appear suddenly and is painful. Visual loss can progress quickly; however, the pain and discomfort lead patients to seek medical attention before permanent damage occurs.
Amblyopia, also referred to as “lazy eye,” is the most common cause of vision impairment in children. Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. Conditions leading to amblyopia include strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the two eyes; more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic in one eye than the other eye, and rarely other eye conditions such as cataract.
Unless it is successfully treated in early childhood amblyopia usually persists into adulthood, and is the most common cause of permanent one-eye vision impairment among children and young and middle-aged adults. It is a rare condition in a vision blindness claim but does appear.
Strabismus involves an imbalance in the positioning of the two eyes. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia). Strabismus is caused by a lack of coordination between the eyes. As a result, the eyes look in different directions and do not focus simultaneously on a single point. In most cases of strabismus in children, the cause is unknown. In more than half of these cases, the problem is present at or shortly after birth (congenital strabismus). When the two eyes fail to focus on the same image, there is reduced or absent depth perception and the brain may learn to ignore the input from one eye, causing permanent vision loss in that eye (one type of amblyopia).
Should I start a Vision Blindness claim for Opthalmic Injury?
It has to be remembered that every eye injury is different and there is a spectrum of injury which runs from temporary and relatively inconvenient to permanent and significant.
The thinking here from the powers that be is that if you can afford the surgery, you can afford the lawyers…
Our members know that regardless of the severity, every eye injury is serious and it will have an impact on the injured person and every member of their family. The mechanisms for eye injury are very wide ranging, we would have to write an article that is hundreds of pages long if we were going to list them all productively. It is fair, though, to state that in our experience, the most serious of injuries are usually those that result from misdiagnosis and / or those that are the result of delay in treating an ophthalmic condition.
What is My Eye Injury Worth?
As you might expect, the amount of compensation for an eye injury depends on the seriousness of the injury and on the prognosis for any future improvement. The schedule of loss has to take into account not just the pain suffering, expenses and loss of amenity it must also list loss of earnings and care. Beware of any websites that start promising compensation amounts before these factors are explored. It is suffice to say that compensation for near total sight loss or worse, is very high. It is a good but not exhaustive starting point to see the publications utilized by the judiciary to compare compensation.
Total blindness and deafness Approx. £265,000
Total blindness Approx. £175,000
Loss of sight in one eye with severely reduced vision in remaining eye and risk of further deterioration Approx. £63,000 – £118,000
Loss of sight in one eye with moderately reduced vision in remaining eye with risk of further deterioration Approx. £42,000 – £69,500
Total loss of one eye Approx. £36,000 – £43,000
Total loss of sight in one eye Approx. £32,250 – £36,000
Serious but incomplete loss of sight Approx. £15,500 – £25,750
Minor but permanently impaired vision in one eye Approx. £8,250 – £13,750
It is my GP to blame not my Surgeon does this matter?
The majority of such injuries tend to flow from the GP Surgery. Patients turn up with serious and foreboding symptoms and are given sympathy and weak eye drops instead of a referral to a suitable ophthalmic surgeon. Or, there is an infection that either doesn’t get the right antibiotics (there are hundreds for ophthalmic conditions) or they don’t get antibiotics at all. No matter what the cause though, please don’t leave these injuries to a personal injury Solicitor, call us to discuss the situation and the condition, we can usually advise on the spot if there is a claim to pursue and what the extent of that claim will be.
Will I have support with the claim as I am now blind
We can if you need it have all the claim materials recorded in an audio file for you, or / and printed in large format. Wherever possible we will make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure that you are not denied justice because of your disability.
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Laser Eye Surgery and Permenant Implant Optics
Dangers of Elective Eye Surgery
Increasing numbers of people seek laser eye surgery for corrections of relatively minor sight defects. The operations are usually effective, they are relatively quick (often day surgery) and can be very liberating for those who have to utilise minor prescription glasses. However, these procedures are not without risk or complications. Ineffective surgery can lead to permanently blurred vision or even permanent blindness. There are frequently recurring issues with regard to consent.
Permanent contact lenses are a type of implantable lenses called phakic intraocular lenses (PIOLs), and are made of clear, flexible plastic. Permanent contact lenses may be a good option for people who don’t want to rely on glasses but aren’t suitable for laser eye surgery. All eye surgery carries risk, both during the procedure and recovery period.
Other Eye Conditions
Like short or long sightedness, astigmatism is a very common and treatable cause of blurred vision.
Red and swollen eyelids – can be caused by an infection or a skin condition. Its not serious on its own but can led to complications.
A painless swelling or lump on the eyelid. Typically without symptoms but may cause complications if left.
Inflammation of the membrane that covers the eye and inside of the eyelids red and sore
A painful sore on th cornea, it might feel like a grit has caught in your eye. Grey or White in colour.
Inflammation of the tissues of the eye. Rare but very serious, usually treated as an emergency.
The appearnace of spots or strands floating across your vision, particualrly against a bright background.
An inflamattion of the iris that can result in pain, redness, light sensitvity and blurred vision.
A condition that caauses the round cornea to weaken at the centre, changing it to a cone shape. The effect is to create blurred or distorted vision.
Raised eye pressure caused by poor draining of the eye and illnes. Many people are symptomless but ocular hyperension can increase the risk of glaucoma.
Inflammation of the optic nerve can disturb vision or even render blind the subject. Lasting damage extent is dependant upon speed of treatment.
Occurs when the retina, which lines the back of the eye, pulls away from the blood vessels supplying it. Delay in treatment may cause permanent defect or blindness.
Our panel Solicitors all have to agree the same transparent and fair funding agreement. They can never charge you more than 20% of your winings and cannot pass on insurance cwsqaharges. If you lose the claim, there is no charges at all. The best lawyers and the best deal.
Why Choose a Law-Med Panel Member
Any Solicitor who is a member of the Law- Med Panel must subscribe to a fair and transparent funding agreement. They must be able to offer clients a no win no fee agreement and that must gaurantee that the maximum amount of compensation that they will pay over in legal costs will never be more than 20%. Further, they must insure the clients case against risk and they must not pass on the costs of that insurance to thier client. Ie they must write it off as part of thier costs agreement.
They must also have a documented promise of the above so that you can refer back to it if you need to.
In addition, all Solicitors must be a fully qualified member of the Specialist Law Soceity Clinical Panel and must commit to additional medical training on top of thier legal training. All of them must have Postgraduate qualificaitons in Medicine, Forensic Medicine or be a dual qualfied lawyer and clinician. They must all also confirm that they will uphold the highest levels of customer service and have high feedback scores from previous clients.
If you are wondering if other Solicitors have these things – by all means check, you will find Law-Med have the best lawyers for you to choose from.
Nursing Negligence Example
Some examples of nursing negligence would be:
- Failing to refer a patient who is suffering from an open wound or pressure sore that is not healing.
- Failing to gaurd against pressure sores, ulcers and weeping wounds.
- Failing to lift a patient safely leading to fractured bones which can go unnoticed or untreated
- Keeping a patient on antibiotics for a urinary tract infection when the infection is not responding.
- Not keeping a patient hydrated or not noticing that a patient is dehydrated or undernourished.
- Administering the wrong medication or the wrong dose.
- Not reffering a patient who is not responding to medication
- Not taking a patients consent or ignoring a patients wishes
Nursing Negligence Consequences
The consequence of negligence for the patient is nearly always injury or harm, for the responsible nurse the consequences vary but could be:
- The Nurse will likley have to be questioned and a statment taken by the Hospitals legal department.
- The Nurse will likely have to given an account to thier manager or supervisor
- They may face and investigation by the NHS Trust or the Hospital.
- They may have to face an investigation by the Royal College of Nursing and Midwifery.
- They may have no conseqeunces at all.
Ultimately much depends on the degree of negligence or harm that has been caused.
Nurse Negligence Wrongful Death
FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRY INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEATH OF MR JAMES MCNEILL  FAI 50
In terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, the Sheriff found that Mr James McNeil (DOB 14th September 1935) died at 08:30 hours on the 22nd of October 2008 at Belhaven Hospital, Dunbar. The cause of death was (i) bronchopneumonia; (ii) pressure sores on back, ischemic heart disease, and dementia.In 1989, Mr McNeill was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and his condition eventually deteriorated in 2007. On 18th April 2008 Mr McNeill was admitted to Lennel House Nursing Home, Coldstream; Lennel House was a nursing home owned and operated by Guardian Care Homes (UK) Ltd. On admission to Lennel House an Admission Assessment Form was completed by the duty staff nurse. The assessment covered, inter alia, the risk of pressure sores; Mr McNeill was assessed as being at high risk of developing pressure sores.
On 19th May 2008 two blood blisters were noticed on Mr McNeill’s sacral cleft. These were the first manifestations of the early stages of pressure sores. In the course of the following days the blisters were treated with creams and dressings. However, the area of the wound, which was measured and recorded daily, increased. By 30th May 2008 the blisters measured 3 x 1.5cm and 1 x 1cm and were recorded as being necrotic and producing an odour, signs consistent with infection. By 9th June 2008 the measures put in place produced no improvement and the odour from the wound was now described as offensive. On 11th June 2008 the districtnurse visited Lennel House by prior arrangement. The wound now measured 13 x 4.5cm and was discharging thick yellow puss. A hole had appeared in the sacral cleft from which fluid leaked. The districtnurse arranged for Mr McNeill to be examined by a GP which examination was conducted on 12th June 2008. As a result of this examination the GP arranged for Mr McNeill to be admitted to the Borders General Hospital on 12th June 2008 in order to obtain a surgical opinion.
On 13th June 2008 surgical debridement of Mr McNeill’s pressure sore wound was carried out. The operating surgeon considered the wound to be serious and described the operation as a “planned emergency”. In his experience of having carried out 12 or so pressure sore debridements over the years, this was described as the worst which he had encountered.Mr McNeill remained at Borders General Hospital until 24th September 2008 when he was transferred to Roodlands Hospital, Haddington. On 20th October 2008 Mr McNeill was transferred to Belhaven Hospital in Dunbar. At about 06:00 hours on Wednesday 22nd October 2008 nurses attended on Mr McNeill to administer medication, including morphine sulphate, and prepare him for a bed bath. After about 30 minutes, when in course of being bathed, Mr McNeill’s condition deteriorated and he expired in the presence of nursing staff.
The Sheriff noted that from the evidence there could be little doubt that Mr McNeill’s care at Lennel House would have benefitted from better and more promptly implemented care plans and risk assessments; from being cared for by nursing staff who had the advantage of better managerial support; better induction procedures; better training especially in respect of pressure sores and the care of the elderly; better dissemination of information regarding policies and procedures; better access to specialist equipment; and from allocated time for communication as between staff on different shifts.
Focusing on Mr McNeill’s development of pressure sores, the risk of these developing would almost certainly have been reduced with earlier provision of special mattresses, cushions and organised and recorded positional changing. The Sheriff concluded from the evidence that the latest date when Lennel house nursing staff ought to have contacted the district nurse, or general practitioner, regarding Mr McNeill’s pressure sore would have been 4th June 2008. However, the Sheriff noted that in the interim period, key staff had changed at the nursing home and that following the death of Mr McNeill, procedures had been improved radically. For these reasons, the Sheriff considered it inappropriate to make any findings under the Act in terms of section 6(c) and (d).
FATAL ACCIDENT ENQUIRY INTO THE DEATH OF NASRULLAH KHALID, SHERIFF KENNETH ROSS, DUMFRIES SHERIFF COURT, 9TH MARCH 2011
In terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, the sheriff found that Nasrullah Khalid died within cell B/17 at H M Prison, Terregles Street, Dumfries on 23 November 2009 between the hours of 3.15pm and 4.55pm. In terms of section 6(1)(b), the cause of death was (a) Ischaemic Heart Disease (b) Coronary Artery Thrombosis and (c) Coronary Artery atherosclorosis. A formal determination was made under section 6(1)(c).
Background: Mr. Khalid had suffered from a heart condition since 1996 when he had had a heart attack. The symptoms of his condition were stable angina, hypertension and atherosclerosis. For the three years prior to his death the deceased exercised regularly in Dumfries Prison gym. There was no medical reason why Mr. Khalid should not have participated in the exercise regime.
At about 1.50pm on 23rd November 2009 Mr. Khalid attended the prison gym as usual. About five minutes before the end of his routine the deceased experienced nausea and pains in the centre of his chest. He was examined by the duty nurse who concluded that he had suffered an angina attack. He was returned to his cell at 3.15pm and advised to rest and take his angina medication. At about 4.55pm Mr. Khalid was discovered lying on his bed with his eyes open and with vomit on his face. Officers commenced CPR and continued to do so until paramedics arrived about ten to fifteen minutes later. They took over the attempts to resuscitate Mr. Khalid which continued for a further twelve minutes. Throughout the procedure there was no response from Mr. Khalid. He was pronounced dead when the prison doctor arrived at 5.45pm.
Under s.6(1)(c) the sheriff found that, in the examination of Mr. Khalid at the Prison gym, it should have been established if the chest pain of which he had complained had disappeared completely. In the absence of such a finding, the prison doctor should have been contacted and an ambulance called. However, to have done so would not have guaranteed Mr. Khalid’s survival. Nor would that survival have been a probability.
What is a community nurse?
Delivering care to the elderly, disabled and vulnerable patients who are unable to travel to a hospital or doctor’s surgery, community nurses are registered nurses who have undertaken degree level training as a specialist practitioner. This course focuses on four key aspects of nursing including clinical nursing, care and programme management, clinical practice development and clinical practice leadership.
Community nurse roles and responsibilities
A community nurse is responsible for performing many of the same duties as a district nurse. These include basic care (checking temperature, blood pressure and breathing), wound management, administering injections, setting up intravenous drips and assisting doctors with examinations and medical procedures. Community-based nurses are also able to provide vital information to clients, their families and carer/s, much in the same way as district nurses, while emergency support may also be required in cases when a patient is suffering cardiac arrest or a stroke. This demonstrates the many hats a community nurse must don in their line of care.
So what is the difference between community and district nurses?
In recent times, the terms district and community have become interchangeable as a way of describing areas of villages, towns and cities, meaning that there may be no difference between community and district nurses at all.
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