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Written on 3rd June 2021 by

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers have secured a substantial six figure settlement for a client who was left blind in one eye after hospital delays in diagnosis and treatment of a parasitic eye infection.

Our client developed streaming and sensitivity in his eyes whilst on holiday. On his return home, despite using eye drops, his left eye became increasingly painful, red and swollen. He was seen at the defendant hospital’s eye clinic where they noted that he was a contact lens wearer and had eye swelling, pain, watering, reduced vision and sensitivity to light (photophobia). He was given a working diagnosis of viral infection and prescribed antibiotic/eye drop treatment. Three days later, he was reviewed in the clinic by a consultant ophthalmologist, who noted his swollen eyelid, inflammation, damage to the cornea (clear outer layer of the eye) and reduced vision. He was prescribed steroid drops in addition to his antibiotic/eye drop treatment.

He was reviewed several times over the next four weeks. When his condition did not improve, on the advice of a corneal specialist at the hospital, steps were taken to rule out infection with acanthamoeba. As a contact lens wearer, he was at increased risk of acanthamoeba infiltration of his cornea. A specialist noted possible diagnoses of his condition included fungal, acanthamoeba or herpes (HSV) keratitis (infection of the cornea of the eye), but thought that HSV was the most likely. Tests were carried out to check for bacterial infection, meanwhile he was treated with acyclovir (for HSV) and antibiotics. He was seen several times over the next month, during which test results were negative for all three possible causes of his deteriorating eye condition. His acyclovir was continued, and he was also given steroids.

Two and a half months after our client’s first attendance at the hospital, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon finally started him on treatment for acanthamoeba, on the basis that if HSV was ruled out then, as a contact lens wearer, acanthamoeba was the most likely cause of his eye condition. His treatment continued and a further test was taken but mistakenly discarded by the lab. A month later, whilst seeking a private second opinion his acanthamoeba treatment was stopped and he was restarted on acyclovir. A further month later, our client returned to the defendant hospital clinic, with increasing pain and blurred vision since stopping the acanthamoeba treatment. After further negative tests he was re-started on acanthamoeba treatment, as by now his consultant believed the appearance of his eye to be strongly suggestive of acanthamoeba keratitis.

He continued with intensive anti-acanthamoeba treatment. Over the next few months he underwent surgery, including removal of a calcified plaque, a corneal biopsy, corneal transplant with cataract extraction,  but tests still failed to confirm a definitive diagnosis. Eventually, more than a year after his initial attendance at the hospital eye clinic, an exploratory vitrectomy operation revealed an ischaemic (permanently damaged from lack of oxygenated blood supply) retina.  

As a result of the delay in treating our client’s acanthamoeba keratitis, he is now blind in his left eye. The deterioration of his eye condition was made worse by inappropriate steroid treatment.  His eye is now shrunken and covered by a cosmetic shell. After losing his vision in the eye, he suffered a moderate, temporary, psychological injury. 

We pursued a claim against the defendant hospital for our client’s loss of vision, caused by their failure to recognise his probable infection with acanthamoeba keratitis and treat it during the first two and a half months of his care from the hospital. The defendant hospital denied any negligent care or responsibility for our client’s permanent injury throughout the proceedings, but the claim settled for a substantial six figure sum a month before trial.

If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of medical negligence and would like to speak to one of our solicitors, free and confidentially, to find out more about making a claim, you can contact us at mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Testimonial from client:

“Boyes Turner were extremely sympathetic and professional whilst reviewing and pursuing my case for a claim.  They ensured all the advice from the necessary experts was considered at every stage throughout the process.  I could not have pursued this without their expert support.”