Woman left 'near blind' wins £200,000 settlement after Grimsby hospital misses appointment

A woman who was left nearly blind partly due to a delay in treatment for an eye condition has said she “wouldn’t wish it on anybody”.

Susan Clarke, 58, was awarded £200,000 compensation in October after Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust admitted medical negligence which partly contributed to her loss of vision, which was also worsened by an unrelated stroke and cataracts. Now, she says her vision is so limited she cannot be alone in the house, can’t go out by herself, and can’t read or even watch TV.

She was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992. She developed a diabetic eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy in 2011 and was placed under the care of the Diana, Princess of Wales hospital in Grimsby.

Because her disease was worsening and following a review in the hospital’s eye department on May 22, 2013, a follow up appointment was to be arranged within the next six months. But Susan did not receive a follow up appointment and wasn’t seen until December 2014, 19 months later.

Despite starting medication to prevent further progression of her disease, Susan was left nearly blind because of the prolonged delay in providing the appropriate treatment. Talking about her loss of sight, Susan told Grimsby Live: “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone at all. I get ever so mad about it.”

Chris Gresswell-Green, a partner at Bridge McFarland LLP(Image: Bridge McFarland LLP)

Susan described what happened to her as “disgusting” and wants her voice to be heard so other people affected by similar medical problems might seek the answers they deserve. She added: “Now that I’m partially sighted I have to have the grandchildren with me all the time.

“I can’t go out on my own I have to have my grandkids — I can’t see cars or buses coming. I can’t watch TV, I can’t read.”

Susan instructed Lincolnshire and Yorkshire based law firm Bridge McFarland LLP to represent her in a claim for medical negligence in December 2015 and a settlement was reached last month, October 2023.

Having been put on notice of the claim, the hospital promptly admitted that they failed to provide Susan with the appropriate standard of care but denied that their failure contributed to the full extent of her loss of vision. Susan’s eyesight was also worsened by non-negligent cataracts and a stroke.

But Bridge McFarland LLP were able to achieve a negotiated settlement for Susan and she was awarded damages in excess of £200,000. The money will help pay for her ongoing care.

Chris Gresswell-Green, a partner at Bridge McFarland LLP who represented Susan, described her issues as ‘incredibly sad’ and said: “It is rewarding to be able to see Miss Clarke receive some form of acknowledgement from the hospital and financial compensation to provide her with support for the challenges she now faces.”

Diabetes is a serious condition and can result in a number of complications involving the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of any diabetic related condition is paramount for a positive prognosis and to reduce the risk of permanent injury.

A Trust spokesperson told Grimsby Live: “We would like to apologise for the delay in treatment Ms Clarke experienced. As a consequence, we acknowledge she has gone on to suffer some problems with her vision. We made early admissions in this case and we’re pleased that now this matter has reached a conclusion.”