Council Bus Driver Forced To Retire After Losing Sight In His Right Eye Instructs Lawyers To Investigate Care

Medical Negligence Experts Investigating Treatment At Addenbrooke’s Hospital

08.08.2016

A council-employed bus driver who was forced to retire when he lost the use of his right eye shortly after he was referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital eye clinic for an emergency appointment has instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care he received.

 

Terence Sherman, 70, from Newmarket was referred to the eye clinic at the hospital in February 2015, which is operated by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, after an appointment at his opticians revealed concerns with his right eye.

 

A request was made for him to visit the Medical Retina Clinic within 14 days, but it was not until June 2015 that Terence received notice of his appointment, which was scheduled for July 2015, four months later than originally planned.

 

Over this time, while Terence chased the appointment with his optician and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, his vision deteriorated significantly in his right eye and he was forced to give up his job as he was concerned his poor vision meant he was no longer safe on the roads.

 

Terence, a father-of-three, has now lost the vision in his right eye and as a result struggles to undertake many of the everyday tasks he used to. His poor vision also means he has suffered a number of falls and is now heavily reliant on his family and friends for support.

 

He instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office to investigate the concerns he has about the delays in receiving his appointment at the eye clinic and whether his sight could have been saved had he received an appointment in the timeframe recommended due to the symptoms highlighted by the optician.

 

The hospital uses the controversial EPIC patient record system, which has attracted criticism from both patients and senior hospital staff since the £200 million system was launched in October 2014.

 

A Serious Untoward Incident report was conducted by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust into the care Terence received, which concluded that there was a lack of communication in the appointment booking processes.

 

The report recommended the completion and implementation of a standard operating procedure and training for booking outpatient appointments, as well as reminding staff within the ophthalmology department of the correct procedures for entering details into their administration system.

 

Gurpreet Lalli, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Terence and his family, said: “Clearly Terence was faced with long delays in receiving his appointment and treatment from Addenbrooke’s Hospital. An internal investigation of the care he received found a number of failings in the way appointments were made and made recommendations to improve training and understanding of the booking process in place.

 

“We are now investigating the care Terence received as he understandably has concerns that the delays led to the deterioration in his sight, which has left him unable to use his right eye, as well as causing him great difficulty in his day-to-day life.

 

“His main concern is that these appointment issues are resolved as soon as possible so that other people in similar situations to him are not left waiting for months for an appointment that should have been made within weeks.”

 

Terence said: “I began noticing problems with my eyesight in January 2015 and was concerned when I was urgently referred to the hospital by my optician. I was told further investigations were needed and I would receive an appointment for a week or so later.

 

“This didn’t arrive and I felt my eyesight deteriorating and it was only when I made the problem known that I eventually got my appointment. I can’t help but question whether the delays I faced contributed to the loss of my vision and more could have been done to help me if I’d been given an appointment in a reasonable time.

 

“I have serious concerns over the way the hospital dealt with my appointments and I want to raise awareness of the issue so things are improved and other people don’t face what I have – the loss of my eyesight in one eye and being forced to retire from a job I enjoyed as I can no longer physically do it.

 

“The loss of my sight in my right eye has had a huge impact on my life and I no longer enjoy going out as I’m concerned about keeping my balance. I’m now forced to rely heavily on my family, friends and neighbours who are helping me in any way they can. I just hope speaking about the issues I’ve faced will make sure others don’t go through the same thing.”

 

Terence’s son James said: “It has been distressing to see my father lose the use of his eye and the follow-on impact this has had on his life over the last year. It is very disappointing that a system introduced by Addenbrooke’s, which should make appointments easier to manage, resulted in such long delays.

 

“This has impacted our overall confidence in the hospital and has been a worry for my father who is still undergoing further treatment.”