Mr B was referred by his GP to Chesterfield Royal Hospital as he was suffering with an external eye problem which was considered to be severe blepharitis. The hospital was of the opinion that the problem was either allergic or viral and prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops for an indeterminate time.
No warning of danger of prolonged use of steroid eye drops
At a review three weeks later, Mr B was advised to continue with the eye drops he had been given previously and was given no warnings about when to stop. A further appointment at the hospital eye clinic showed that Mr B was suffering from ‘left peripheral ulcerative keratitis’. He was prescribed ciprofloxacin eye drops, which are used to treat bacterial infections, such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis and corneal ulcers. He was discharged from hospital care shortly afterwards.
About one year later the man was referred back to the hospital with further symptoms, but was discharged. His symptoms continued, and he attended hospital again a couple of months later when an associate specialist in ophthalmology asked the man’s GP to refer him to a senior ophthalmic surgeon if his symptoms continued.
Nikki pursues nine defendants
Mr B saw an optometrist around four years later, when he was told that he should not have been using the anti-inflammatory drops for a prolonged period of time. Mr B contacted Nikki for help in suing the hospital for breach of duty of care. Nikki initially made the claim against Chesterfield Royal Hospital, claiming that it had not given Mr B adequate instructions regarding the amount of time for which he should use the eye drops, that it had not notified his GP that Mr B should stop using the drops, that it did not take appropriate visual measurements and it did not review Mr B regularly in order to exclude steroid induced complications. Nikki claimed that as a result of these allegations Mr B had developed glaucoma, which was found to be caused by the use of tropical steroid drops for a period of approximately 6 years between 2007 and 2013.
Whilst pursuing the claim against the hospital, Nikki identified a potential claim against the GPs and the partners of the GP practice and so she made a claim against these too. This meant that Nikki was dealing with a case against nine different defendants. Chesterfield Royal Hospital denied liability and it refused to enter into any settlement negotiations. The GP representatives delayed their responses, so Nikki issued court proceedings. The GPs then engaged in settlement negotiations without admitting liability and Nikki was able to settle the claim for £27,000.
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