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Teenager left with damaged eye after doctor failed to remove foreign body

Josh was left with a piece of metal in his eye which caused irreversible damage to his eyesight. Back in 2007, when Josh was just 16, he was at home undertaking some DIY when a metal clip from a telephone cable sprung off unexpectedly hitting him in his left eye.

Immediately concerned, Josh’s mother took him to his local A&E department. When Josh got to A&E he was seen by a locum consultant and Josh explained what had happened.

Unfortunately the locum A&E doctor did not examine Josh’s eye using the correct equipment nor undertake the appropriate examinations he ought to have done including arranging for an X-ray. Instead Josh was simply discharged home.

Josh continued to have difficulty with the vision in his left eye and, so a few months later, he went to his optometrist.

By this time, Josh had a permanently dilated left pupil and was experiencing flashes and floaters in the left eye. Josh’s optometrist carried out a full examination of his eye and suggested Josh’s retina had been scarred so arranged for him to be immediately referred back to his local hospital.

Josh attended hospital on the same day this time being seen by an ophthalmologist where he underwent the full examination he should have had when he first attended A&E including an X-ray of his eye.

The X-ray confirmed the presence of a foreign body and Josh was advised that he would need to undergo surgery to remove the foreign body under general anaesthetic.

Unfortunately Josh has now had to undergo a series of surgical procedures on his left eye and has lost considerable vision. He has been left with very little, if any, useful vision in his left eye and also now suffers from headaches, discomfort and sensitivity to light.

Josh’s loss of vision is permanent and he is no longer able to participate in any contact sports. He also struggles to work as a joiner on account of his difficulty in judging distances and depth and has lost self-confidence as a result of his visual impairment and the cosmetic appearance of his eye.

Josh and his Mum instructed Hugh James to investigate a clinical negligence claim on his behalf.

We were able to investigate the claim and alleged that the A&E department were negligent as the locum consultant had failed to carry out a full examination of Josh’s eye and if this had have been done the foreign body would have been identified.

He would have therefore undergone surgery that day or shortly thereafter resulting in significantly better retained vision than he now has.

Given Josh’s young age, further investigations were needed to clarify his condition and what life would be like for him in the future.

We were able to work with specialist sight loss experts to set out exactly what the position would be for Josh going forward and put this to the Trust. Eventually, after several years of hard work, we were able to achieve a settlement for Josh of £349,495.00.

Lesley Herbertson acted for Josh and commented:

This is a fantastic settlement for a really lovely young man who unfortunately has been left with a permanent disability as a result of a failure to undertake a proper examination in A&E.

This case shows how important it is that full examinations are done as just the slightest delay can have catastrophic consequences as was sadly the case here for Josh. I was however thrilled that we were able to recover this level of compensation for him as I know that this will mean that Josh is able to feel secure about his future.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Lesley Herbertson


Lesley Herbertson is a Partner at Hugh James and a leading medical negligence solicitor with over 30 years’ experience in dealing with catastrophic and serious injury medical negligence cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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