Case Study: Conjunctival Oedema Due To Negligent Treatment

Compensation: £100,000

Kayleigh, 19 years old, London

With JMW's help, a woman has claimed £100,000 in compensation after she contracted a very rare post-natal syndrome which caused her great pain and numerous medical complications.

Kayleigh delivered her first baby by caesarean section, the baby was well and Kayleigh was looking forward to going home. However, Kayleigh became gravely ill with HELLP syndrome and was admitted to the intensive care unit. The acronym HELPP describes a syndrome consisting of Haemolysis, Elevated liver enzymes and Low platelet count. It occurs in 1 in 1000 pregnancies and in its most severe form (as in Kayleigh's case) is associated with life-threatening bleeding, renal failure and respiratory failure. She received £100,000 to compensate for her suffering.

Emergency treatment

The following day a CT scan revealed a massively distended uterus with a large haematoma and multiple bleeding points. A laparotomy was performed in an attempt to control the bleeding and Kayleigh was returned to ICU sedated and mechanically ventilated. As she was also in acute renal failure, haemodialysis was commenced.

After a week, it was noted that Kayleigh had developed conjunctival oedema in both eyes and after a further six days a corneal ulcer developed in the left eye. A swab was taken, treatment with antibiotic drops was commenced and the eyes were taped shut.

The development of conjunctival oedema is common in critically ill patients as the need to sedate and paralyse a patient means that the natural movement of the eye and the blink reflex is lost. Inadequate eye closure makes the eyes very susceptible to damage.

Long-term damage

The damage to the cornea was severe and permanent. Her sight was seriously compromised and she experiences discomfort and headaches. Kayleigh was very self-conscious about the appearance of her left eye as the cornea was scarred and unsightly. Kayleigh lost her self-confidence and developed depression.

JMW Solicitors suggested that protective ‘Geliperm' pads should have been used to cover the eyes as soon as it was noted that conjunctival oedema was developing. These pads would have protected the cornea from damage. The guidelines for eye care in critically ill patients produced by the trust were clearly not followed.

The hospital admitted liability (negligence) and the case was settled. Kayleigh received £100,000 compensation. 

Have you also suffered negligent treatment?

If you or someone you know has suffered in a similar way, give us a call to discuss the situation and to see whether you could be entitled to compensation. Ring us today on 0800 054 6512, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our friendly team will get in touch with you.

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