Blundering doctors cost grandfather’s sight in one eye 

23/11/2012

A former Bury grandfather has spoken of his fears for other sufferers of a common age-related eye condition after blundering doctors cost him his sight in one eye.

Malcolm Spencer’s deteriorating vision could have been stopped in its tracks and his eye-sight saved if he had been given the right medication. 

However doctors failed to spot he was suffering from wet age-related macular degeneration (Wet AMD) - one of the most common eye complaints to affect older people – and referred him for laser eye treatment, which worsened his condition and changed the prognosis from treatable to untreatable. 

With a proper diagnosis and access to a drug called Avastin, the deterioration of Malcolm’s eye condition could have been halted and the sight in his left eye saved. However a catalogue of errors made by Fairfield Hospital, in Bury, Greater Manchester, meant he did not get the treatment he urgently needed. 

After specialist medical negligence solicitors at law firm JMW challenged the appalling care Malcolm received, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust admitted mistakes were made and agreed to pay Malcolm compensation to help him to cope with his vision loss. 

While it is now too late to treat Malcolm’s lost vision, he is determined to raise awareness of the issues at the hospital and the need for fast action to treat Wet AMD as he feels many other older people may be at risk.

Malcolm, 72, who now lives in Greetland near Halifax, with his wife Margaret, but previously lived in Bourton Close, Walshaw Park, Bury, commented: “The state of my eyesight and my quality of life have been severely affected and I really feel that the ophthalmic care at the hospital needs to be urgently reviewed to save other people from suffering the same fate. 

“I now struggle with certain everyday tasks, such as cooking, gardening and maintenance of our home and it is devastating to know that my sight in that eye would not have deteriorated so badly if the doctors at the hospital had treated me properly. With AMD affecting so many older people it is vital that doctors are alert to the signs, as they were overlooked in my case, which is very worrying.”

Angharad Hughes, Malcolm’s medical negligence lawyer at JMW, commented: “Malcolm had clear signs of Wet AMD. These were even picked up at routine eye tests at the opticians, who referred him for urgent treatment, but they were still missed by doctors at the hospital. Worse still, doctors performed laser eye surgery on him, which our expert believes would have made his condition worse. 

“The treatment Malcolm received was completely unacceptable and the apparent lack of awareness of Wet AMD and the need for urgent treatment at the hospital is shocking. Malcolm and his wife have clearly suffered a great deal because of this negligence and there is now nothing that can be done to reverse the damage to his eyesight.” 

Malcolm began suffering problems with his eyesight in 2006 but in 2008, they took a turn for the worse and he began to have distorted vision in the form of wavy lines. His optician was concerned about this and referred him to his GP, with a view to having him referred on to a hospital specialist. 

Despite being referred to the ophthalmic department at Fairfield Hospital, doctors there failed to diagnose Malcolm’s Wet AMD and therefore he did not get access to drugs to halt the deterioration of his sight and furthermore he underwent inappropriate laser eye surgery. 

Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Livesey on the details below:

Kelly Livesey

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.livesey@jmw.co.uk

 
Notes to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented thousands of victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over 70 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.

http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence/


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