Hospital ‘sorry’ over loss of man’s vision

A GRANDFATHER is to receive compensation from health bosses after claims that a catalogue of errors at Bury’s Fairfield Hospital ultimately cost him his sight in one eye.

Specialist medical negligence solicitors JMW say that Malcolm Spencer’s deteriorating vision could have been stopped in its tracks and his eyesight saved if he had been given the right medication.

In 2008, after Mr Spencer began to suffer distorted vision, his optician referred him to his GP with a view to getting an appointment with a hospital specialist.

But doctors failed to spot he was suffering from wet age-related macular degeneration (Wet AMD), one of the most common eye complaints to affect older people. Instead, they referred him for laser eye treatment which worsened his condition and changed the prognosis from treatable to untreatable.

The law firm say that, with a proper diagnosis and access to drug treatment, the deterioration of Mr Spencer’s eye condition could have been halted and the sight in his left eye saved. They claim that a “catalogue of errors” by Fairfield Hospital meant he did not get the treatment he urgently needed.

After JMW challenged what they termed was the “appalling care” Mr Spencer received, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust admitted mistakes were made and agreed to pay him compensation to help him to cope with his vision loss.

While it is now too late to treat his lost vision, Mrs Spencer is determined to raise awareness of the issues at the hospital and the need for fast action to treat Wet AMD as he feels many other older people may be at risk.

The 72-year-old, formerly of Bourton Close, Walshaw Park, but who now lives in Greetland, near Halifax, said: “I now struggle with certain everyday tasks, such as cooking, gardening and maintenance of our home and it is devastating to know that my sight in that eye would not have deteriorated so badly if the doctors at the hospital had treated me properly. With AMD affecting so many older people it is vital that doctors are alert to the signs, as they were overlooked in my case, which is very worrying.”

Angharad Hughes, Mr Spencer’s medical negligence lawyer, said: “The treatment he received was completely unacceptable and the apparent lack of awareness of Wet AMD and the need for urgent treatment at the hospital is shocking.”

A spokesman for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield, said: “We are very sorry that the care Mr Spencer received fell below standard and regret that as a result Mr Spencer has suffered a deterioration in the vision in his left eye.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure that we learn from events such as those surrounding the treatment of Mr Spencer in our aim to provide the very best care for all our patients.”

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