Eye surgery negligence – Enable Law supports client after eye surgery went wrong

5 Min Read

We secured £160,000 in compensation for our client after her eye surgery didn’t go to plan and left her with damaging effects. 

Carrie had a squint that bothered her since she was a child. She was mostly wearing glasses that helped correct it to an extent, but the squint was becoming increasingly more bothersome when she wore contact lenses. By the age of 45 she decided to do something about it and after visiting the hospital and getting a formal diagnosis decided to have surgery to correct it.

In general, before any serious surgery a doctor would ask a patient  to fill in a consent form, explaining all possible risks and making sure they understand them before saying they are happy to go ahead with the procedure.

Unfortunately, things did not happen like that with our client. The doctor that brought her the consent form did so on the same day the surgery was scheduled and by visiting her hospital bedside. He had pre-filled all information on the consent form including ticking all the boxes our client should have ticked herself, only if she felt she fully understood the risks of the surgery.  As Carrie knew she was about to have an important procedure, she asked him to give her some time to review the document.  She amended one of the clauses on the form before signing it. She also pointed out to him that the form had the wrong patient’s name on it so needed to be changed.

That was the whole interaction our client had with the doctor before she was taken into surgery. At no point did the doctor suggest to her there may be a need for her to have alternative treatment to the one she had consented for and there was no reason for our client to expect anything but what she had agreed to.

Fast forward a few hours post-surgery and the doctor visited our client to tell her that he had been unable to carry out the planned operation because there was some scar tissue surrounding her eye from a previous operation she had as a child. To try to achieve the best result for her, the doctor said he injected Botox to her eye muscle to help it relax, expecting that that would help fix the issue. As a result of this he told her that both her eyes had been over corrected on purpose, as he expected the muscle to go back to the desired position as soon as the Botox wore off.

Carrie was worried about this. She had not been warned about the possibility of receiving a Botox injection and had expressly said she didn’t want this.  She also did not fully understand what the repercussions could be but at the time she was still recovering from her surgery so she did not ask many questions.

After she returned home, she realised that her eyes were not improving. In fact, it felt they were getting worse and she was increasingly struggling to see. She had received no guidance on what to expect or how to manage her eyes. At a follow-up appointment, she learned that her eyes might take a month or two to recover, and she was upset that a procedure had been done without her clear permission.

In the weeks that followed, she faced more problems. Her eyelids were almost shut, and she had to depend on others for basic tasks. Doctors said that part of the Botox injected in her eyes had “leaked” to the surrounding area causing the additional complications she was experiencing and that its effect could take up to six months to wear off.

That’s when she decided to seek legal advice. After speaking to our colleague Michelle Biddulph – who has considerable experience supporting clients who have suffered injuries following eye procedures -she decided to make a claim with Michelle’s support for clinical negligence.

The hospital initially only partly accepted responsibility for what happened to Carrie. The reality is that the procedure going wrong had really affected her life. Her eye sight had been affected so much that she could not drive, could not take care of her young children or herself without the help of others and could not even work as she did an office job and needed to use a computer. The ordeal took a toll on her mental health and significantly affected her confidence and sense of self.

Unfortunately the long term prognosis did not look as optimistic as the doctor had initially advised her it would be either. She was subsequently told that her squint was more likely than not to come back to the same extent she had it before the surgery and that there was a good chance she would suffer from double vision for the rest of her life and need more corrective surgeries.

Michelle helped Carrie claim £160,000 in compensation to help her meet her new needs and make up for the loss of income she had suffered and would continue suffering until her eyesight recovered enough for her to be able to return to the same level of work.