Businessman left blinded in one eye after failed diagnosis awarded settlement

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Skipton Hospital Skipton Hospital

A Keighley businessman left blind in one eye after doctors failed to diagnose and treat a serious eye condition hopes the hospital Trust he sued for damages will learn lessons.

The 52-year-old, who does not want to be named, had been under the care of ophthalmologists since the age of three as he suffers from a condition called Marfan syndrome – a genetic disorder of the connective tissue which can cause the lens to dislocate.

In June 2009 a specialist at Skipton Hospital, which is run by Airedale NHS Trust, failed to diagnose and treat glaucoma in his left eye, which led to permanent damage and loss of vision.

As a result the man, who worked as a software specialist, was forced to close his company.

He said: “I was completely devastated when I lost the vision in my eye, especially to a condition for which there is a cure. Having had Marfan’s all my life I have been extra vigilant in seeking medical help when necessary.

“Losing my sight has had a dramatic impact on my life, not only have I had to adapt my daily routines but my wife and I have been forced to close our business as it heavily relied on my skill set.

“I am especially keen to emphasise that patients with Marfan’s syndrome are particularly vulnerable and need extra vigilance in their care and in the monitoring of their eyesight.”

The father-of-two instructed specialist medical lawyers who secured him a substantial undisclosed settlement.

Partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, Mark Tempest, said: “Glaucoma is a common and treatable condition and failure to diagnose this, especially for a patient who is regularly seen by ophthalmologists, is unacceptable.

“It is important that the Airedale Trust learns lessons from this case and increases in staff training in recognising symptoms and treating glaucoma to protect future patients’ safety and ensure no one else is subjected to the same ordeal.”

The businessman said: “After three years I am relieved that the case has come to a close and I hope that mistakes like this are avoided in the future.”

Harold Hosker, interim medical director at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We apologise again to the patient and his family for the deeply regrettable and sad outcome on this occasion, which occurred more than four years ago.

“Following this patient’s experience, we have undertaken a thorough investigation of our procedures to understand why this happened and how it could be prevented in the future.

“Patient safety is our top priority and we would like to reassure our local community that we will learn from this incident and will continue to review our processes to ensure we provide high standards of safety and quality of care to our patients at all times.”

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