30th April 2020 – Our client, a 72-year-old woman from Hastings, suffered irreversible and progressive sight loss following a failure to diagnose and treat her glaucoma in October 2014, whilst she was under the care of the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
As a result of the failure to diagnose and treat our client’s glaucoma it was
allowed to progress and resulted in a significant reduction in her visual fields by the time she next saw her optician in June 2015. That appointment prompted a referral to Moorfields Eye Hospital, and when she was seen by them in September 2015 she received the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Unfortunately, the reduction in her visual fields during those ‘lost’ 11 months, meant that the natural course of glaucoma to cause slow progression of visual field loss (despite appropriate treatment) would have a bigger effect upon her vision much sooner, and that she had a worse long term prognosis than she would have had.
Our ophthalmic expert’s opinion was that our client will now lose all of the useful vision in her left eye by the age of 73.5 and that she will lose all of the useful vision in her right eye by the age of 78.5. Had the negligent delay in diagnosis and treatment not occurred, it was our expert’s opinion that the loss of useful vision in the left eye would have been delayed by 10 years, and that the vision in the right eye would have remained good (6/9) during the rest of her lifetime.
As a result of our client’s significantly worse visual prognosis, she also suffered a consequent psychiatric injury.
The Defendant admitted breach of duty early on, but failed to admit the extent of the visual loss consequent upon the 11 month delay, and made an initial offer of just £15,000.
In order to fully value the claim (which will require our client moving to single storey accommodation in the future, as well as requiring significant levels of care on a daily basis), we obtained further expert evidence from a psychiatrist, a care expert and an accommodation expert.
In the meantime, the Defendant made further offers of £80,000 and £100,000.
Those offers were rejected, and once we had all of our expert evidence in place a counter offer of £1,350,000 was made.
A joint settlement meeting was then scheduled for 30.04.20.
Due to the Coronavirus situation this could not take place in person as would normally be the case. Instead, and as a far better proxy than a telephone meeting, we arranged to hold the meeting over ‘Zoom’.
At that meeting, a settlement of £1,000,000 was achieved.
In response to the settlement, our client said “I cannot thank you and the
barrister enough for all your hard work in achieving my settlement”.
Alex Tengroth, senior solicitor at Fairweathers LLP, said “I am absolutely
delighted that we managed to secure a 7-figure settlement for my client in this claim, and that our first use of ‘Zoom’ for a settlement meeting was such a success!”