£12k awarded for negligent laser eye surgery
Compensation of £12,000 was received in 2007 by a 52 year-old man who suffered blurred vision and corneal damage following the negligent performance of laser eye surgery.
The claimant attended a consultation at the defendant laser eye surgeon's practice to discuss the possibility of corrective surgery. He sought to remedy his long-sightedness and reduce the time he spent wearing glasses.
He was advised that he was eligible for surgery, which the claimant consented to, and the procedure took place on the same day as the consultation.
Over the subsequent three weeks he spoke to the defendant on several occasions to explain that he was suffering from continually blurred vision, pain and dryness in his eyes.
The symptoms persisted and the defendant proposed further corrective surgery, to which the claimant agreed.
Despite having undergone a second bout of surgery on both eyes, the blurriness continued.
Almost two years after his original treatment, the claimant accepted the offer of an appointment with an independent surgeon at a surgery owned by the defendant. He was advised that a corneal draft would improve and restore his vision and agreed to undergo the operation.
He suffered severe pain the following day and discomfort thereon.
What was alleged?
The claimant brought an action in negligence against the defendant. He alleged that the defendant had failed to properly advise him of the potential ramifications of having the initial treatment, and also failed to exercise reasonable skill and care in advising on both the first and subsequent procedures.
It was alleged that the defendant failed to advise that he was unable to offer the claimant the exact form of treatment that was required to allow the claimant to achieve his aim.
Although he was able to lead a relatively ordinary life, he had suffered corneal scarring that he would have avoided had the final round of treatment not gone ahead. As a result of the treatments he would need to continue to wear glasses and would most likely require cataract surgery at some stage in the future.
The defendant company admitted liability for clinical negligence. A settlement of £12,000 in damages was agreed.
The claimant's solicitor calculated that £10,000 of this amount was appropriate compensation for their client's pain, suffering and loss of amenity.