Patient Left Blind Following Treatment At Cheltenham General Hospital Take Legal Action

Incident Report Compiled By Trust Reveals Cleaning Of Treatment Room Was “Insufficient”

05.08.2016

Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

A patient who lost his sight following treatment at Cheltenham General Hospital is taking legal action against the Trust amid concerns that a poorly sanitised room was being used for eye procedures.

Expert medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell have registered concerns with Gloucester Royal NHS Foundation Trust after reports that further episodes of infection have been reported.

A patient has instructed the law firm to investigate after developing an eye infection, known as endophthalmitis, following intravitreal injections in December 2015.

An incident review report completed in January 2016 revealed that the room where patients were being treated was not a dedicated injection room. The report said the room was used for clinics in the mornings and the “general level of cleaning was insufficient.”

The report, made following a meeting of senior managers, infection control specialists and consultants, said deep cleaning of the room had lapsed and, while  it was cleaned prior to all injection clinics, the surface around the sink was cluttered, the theatre light was dusty and there were a large amount of dust-collecting surfaces.

Although an action plan was put in place to try to avoid further instances of infection, a letter seen by lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, dated 12 July this year revealed that a consultant ophthalmologist at the unit has raised concerns about further instances of infection in other treatment areas within the department.

Expert Opinion
“We have heard from a number of people who have developed serious eye infections and one client has subsequently lost sight in one eye. This has, understandably, had a devastating impact as he has had to accept that his life will never be the same again.

“It is very concerning to learn that, seven months on from the last incident review, there appear to have been further instances of infection and the ophthalmology department must now undergo a second investigation.”
Catherine Slattery, Solicitor

Gloucester Royal NHS Foundation Trust provides a service for the treatment of wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusion. This involves intravitreal injections, which are injections into the jelly-like substance in the eye, known as the vitreous, to place medicines into the eye near the retina. Last year the Trust performed more than 9,000 of these injections.

The incident report also highlighted that clinicians were apparently ignoring recommendations to leave iodine in the eye for three minutes before commencing the procedure. The report reiterated guidelines which note that the antiseptic properties of iodine were at their strongest when left for three minutes prior to the injection.

There was further concern that due to the high demand for the service, time pressures did not allow for air drying of trolleys after they had been sterilised.

Expert Opinion
“With so many injections carried out in a single year, it is vital that proper procedures are followed to ensure patients are not being put at risk because of inadequate sterilisation of clinical areas.

“Sadly, nothing can be done for my client, who has been left permanently blind in the affected eye. His hope is that these risks are addressed immediately so that no one else suffers as he has.

“We urge the Trust to makes its latest investigation fast but thorough to ensure no one else is put at risk. Patient safety must be the number one priority.”
Catherine Slattery, Solicitor