Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Mum wins £3.2m after eye operation delays left her blind

Southampton General Hospital
Image caption The woman was referred to the eye unit at Southampton General Hospital

A mother of three has been awarded £3.2m in compensation after delays in treating an eye condition led to her going permanently blind.

The woman, in her 30s, was seen by a consultant more than 18 months after she first noticed her sight failing, by which time it could not be reversed.

She also gave birth to her third child after she had gone blind.

A NHS spokesman said delays and shortage of ophthalmic specialists were a "significant national problem".

The woman first went to an optician in June 2016 after noticing her sight worsening.

She was diagnosed with glaucoma and referred to Southampton Eye Hospital. She was prescribed eye-drops and told she would have follow-up appointments .

But by the time she saw a senior consultant in February 2018, the woman was registered blind and her sight loss could not be reversed.

'Complete tragedy'

Victoria Hydon of Moore Blatch solicitors said the impact on her client had been "devastating".

Ms Hydon added the mother's eyesight would have been saved if she had been operated on by the end of 2016.

"It's a complete tragedy - there was no reason why it should have happened.

"The sizable compensation reflects the harm that has been done and the support and care she needs for the rest of her life," she added.

An internal NHS serious investigation report last year found 15 other patients were left blind or with worsened sight loss after delays in identifying their risk factors.

It showed more than 4,000 patients had not been seen as quickly as needed.

In a statement University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust said: "We have taken a number of steps to address the backlog in follow-up appointments... with all patients now risk-assessed to ensure those most in need are seen at the earliest opportunity."

It added that 88% of trusts have backlogs in diabetes and glaucoma and there are more 80 consultant vacancies in England.

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