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Boy receives six-figure sum following negligent management of retinopathy of prematurity screening

Client settles medical negligence compensation claim after losing sight in one eye

Feet of premature baby

1 February 2018

A boy, known only as GD to protect his identity, has successfully concluded his medical negligence claim after losing his vision in one eye.

GD was born very prematurely at 27 weeks gestation. He required care in the neonatal intensive unit and, as with many babies of his gestational age, was identified as being at risk of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). ROP is a condition that affects the retinal blood vessels in premature babies, and if left untreated can lead to blindness as a result of retinal detachment. 

GD was placed on a ROP screening programme. The purpose of this screening was to diagnose any potential ROP and make an onward emergency referral if necessary. However, despite the screening, GD did develop ROP which went undiagnosed until he had completely lost vision in one eye. 

Medical negligence solicitor Suzanne White was instructed to bring a claim against the Defendant Trust alleging it had been negligent in the conduct of the ROP screening in that there had been a failure to act upon or identify evolving ROP. Suzanne argued that had the screening programme been conducted competently GD would have undergone cryotherapy treatment which would have saved the vision in his eye. 

The Defendant Trust admitted liability at an early stage, but disputed the precise level of visual acuity GD would have achieved but for the negligence.  A settlement was eventually agreed for a six-figure sum of compensation. In addition, a provisional damages order was obtained for GD, which will allow him to return to court for further damages at any stage during his lifetime should he suffer a deterioration in the vision in his other eye that would render him effectively blind. 

Suzanne White and Matthew Westlake from the medical negligence team at Leigh Day said: 

“We are delighted to have secured this settlement on behalf of GD, and hope that the money will help support some of his ongoing needs. 

“We are also pleased to have been able to secure an award of provisional damages, which was an important consideration for GD’s parents in reaching any form of settlement.”

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