Settlement secured for an elderly lady who was blinded following a delayed diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis

Mrs V v An NHS Trust (2019)

Mrs V was a very healthy and active lady who enjoyed many pastimes, lived alone and was incredibly independent. In her late 80’s she began to experience a number of the classic warning signs of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) to include vision disturbance including shadows around distant objects, shooting pains in the right side of her neck, jaw and ear. She also experienced headaches; her scalp felt sensitive and it hurt to comb her hair.

Despite repeated attendances over a period of 10 days at her GP surgery, a drop in clinic and the Hospital -when she clearly showed markers for infection - she was discharged home only to return three days later with deteriorating vision in both eyes and, subsequently, complete blindness. It was confirmed that GCA was the cause of her lost sight.

After losing her sight, Mrs V become incredibly depressed and lost interest in the outside world and no longer followed any of the pursuits she was so happy enjoying previously. She was diagnosed with dementia which was naturally made worse by her loss of sight.

The Trust admitted failures in the care provided to Mrs V but insisted in their Defence that those failures did not make a material difference to her outcome and she would still have been blind. Despite these initial denials, we continued to make enquiries regarding the logic of the defence they had put forward and they finally made a full admission of liability a few months later.

The value of the claim was heavily disputed but Mrs V’s needs were carefully assessed by a Geriatrician and experts in Care, Occupational Therapy and Psychiatry. Damages were agreed as a lump sum plus annual payments for the remainder of Mrs V’s life.

Client comments:

“The support, both technical and emotional, that we received from the KN team, and indeed Counsel and the various Experts, has been amazing….we are so grateful for the professional yet friendly and compassionate way you have looked after us”.

"Our thanks to all of you, but in particular to Punam and Suzanne for guiding us through the process. We achieved a result that was above our expectations and the settlement will ensure that Mrs V can enjoy a high standard of care for her remaining years. I am also pleased that we received a detailed apology from the Hospital and that steps have been taken to minimise the chances of a similar event occurring in the future”.

“Punam, can I just thank you once again for all your help in getting this over the finishing line. It’s been a tough few years but your support has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated”.

Punam Sood

Medical Negligence & Personal Injury

Senior Associate

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