A 78-year-old woman has received £30,000 in compensation for the loss of vision in her right eye after her GP failed to investigate her severe headaches properly. Mrs E had complained to her doctor of a pounding pain in her head. Unfortunately, whilst her case was eventually referred to a specialist, the GP did not make the referral soon enough to avoid the damage to her sight.
When Mrs E first visited her GP she described pain on the top and sides of her head as well as an earache. The GP diagnosed arthritis of the spine as the cause and prescribed painkillers. After three weeks the GP visited Mrs E at home where she complained that the headaches persisted and her scalp was highly sensitive. The doctor then prescribed an anti-depressant.
Three weeks after that, Mrs E told her GP that the medication had done little to alleviate her symptoms. As a result, blood samples were taken which revealed that she had low haemoglobin levels. It was a further three weeks before Mrs E was seen by a consultant physician who referred her to a specialist ophthalmic unit where she was diagnosed with temporal arthritis.
Temporal arthritis results in an inflammation of the blood vessels that supply the optic nerves, head and eyes. The condition can cause blindness if not treated promptly with steroids. Unfortunately, Mrs E's GP had not carried out the tests with the required urgency, which resulted in her losing the sight in one eye. The settlement was reached out of court.