A significant number of patients, who underwent eye surgery at the Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, are claiming compensation for negligent cataract operations.
The potential claims for compensation for negligent cataract treatment arose in May after the Somerset hospital contracted the private company Vanguard Healthcare to assist with a backlog of cataract operations for patients in its catchment area.
The contract was cancelled – and surgical procedures stopped – after just four days with the explanation of “technical reasons” being offered by the Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust. However, since the cancellation of the contract, thirty-one of the sixty-two patients that underwent eye surgery have reported “poor outcomes”, and are seeking advice about their legal right to claim compensation for negligent cataract treatment.
Eye surgery to remove cataracts usually have a very low complication rate – typically around 1-in-400 – but many patients have complained about blurred vision, swelling and pain beyond that which would be anticipated after cataract removal surgery, and one 84-year-old patient suffered permanent damage to his cornea which will require a cornea transplant if he is ever going to regain his vision.
The Musgrove Park Hospital is treating those affected by the alleged negligence in its own ophthalmology department, but is refusing to comment on the possibility that patients may be able to claim compensation for negligent cataract treatment – only saying that it is carrying out its own investigation into the allegations.
A spokesperson for Vanguard Healthcare acknowledged that the company had received three complaints but said “Patient care is our number one priority and we’re working closely with the Trust to understand and fully investigate the root causes of any complications.”
However a Department of Health spokesperson was adamant that any compensation for negligent cataract treatment which is due to claimants will be paid by Vanguard Healthcare, along with the cost of repairing the damage that has been done to their vision.
He said: “Patients deserve the safest and best care and the NHS will hold this company to account if things have gone wrong, and reclaim costs on behalf of patients. Whoever carries out NHS treatment is subject to the same strict Care Quality Commission regulatory regime.”