Settlement for patient with loss of vision in one eye after GP's failure to refer to stroke clinic

An Interview with a Case Manager

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence specialists have negotiated a £150,000 settlement for a client who lost her central vision in one eye after her GP failed to recognise that she was suffering from ‘amaurosis fugax’ transient retinal ischaemic attacks and that she needed urgent referral to a stroke/TIA clinic for treatment.

Painless loss of vision

Our client visited her GP after she experienced two episodes of temporary, painless loss of vision in her eye, as if a grey curtain had moved across the eye for a few seconds with her vision then returning to normal. She told the GP about the two episodes and that she was concerned about having a stroke. Without examining the eye or taking a detailed history about her visual and medical history, he assured her that her blood pressure was normal and that she hadn’t had a stroke and advised her to see an optician if the visual loss happened again.

Permanent loss of vision

A month later, our client experienced another similar episode in which the loss of vision lasted a few minutes, this time accompanied by a headache. She tried to obtain an appointment with her GP but the next available appointment was ten days later, and whilst waiting for that appointment she experienced a further visual loss episode, with a throbbing sensation in the eye. Her vision didn’t return after the episode. She attended her local hospital and was advised to go immediately to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital where she was diagnosed with an occlusion (blockage) in the cilioretinal​ artery. She was given aspirin and acetazolamide, a drug which reduces pressure in the eyeball, and was sent to a stroke/TIA clinic where she underwent further investigations and high dose aspirin treatment, however she had already suffered permanent loss of central vision in one eye with only limited peripheral vision remaining.

Failure to refer

Our client instructed Boyes Turner’s medical negligence specialists to investigate a claim against the GP. Supported by expert evidence, we pursued the claim on the basis that if the GP had taken a proper history from our client, he should have recognised from her history of two separate short episodes of loss of vision in the eye with no headache, no symptoms of migraine, no other visual disturbance nor residual symptoms that she was suffering from amaurosis fugax, probably caused by transient retinal ischaemia, and that she was at risk of further ischaemic events. He should have referred her urgently to a stroke/TIA clinic, prescribed her daily aspirin and told her to go straight to hospital if she had any more episodes of curtain-like loss of vision. Correct treatment would have prevented further retinal ischaemic episodes and her vision in the eye would have been preserved. She now has a 1% risk of total blindness if she develops glaucoma in her other eye in the future.

Settlement

The defendant GP maintained his denial of liability throughout the claim, however, a settlement at £150,000 was reached at a round table meeting prior to trial.

If you or your child have suffered from serious, permanent disability caused by medical negligence, contact us by email at mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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