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legal action

Posted: Mon 09 Jan 2006 8:45 pm
by asylumxl
i only recently foundnd i have keratoconus slightly in the left eye and more so in the right. im not to worried although i have yet to start any corrective treatment but there is a slight spanner in the works. When i went to see a specialist he could not believe it had not been diagnosed previously and believed it had be going on for a reasonably long time (back to when my vision started to suffer). The thing is, a local optician last year told me he was worried i had keratoconus and wanted me to come up for a check up in a few months. When i went back i was told that "it had cleared up" and that i didn't have keratoconus. So, the issue now is, several people (including one specialist) believe we should take legal action against the opticians. What does everyone else think?

In all honesty i dont want it to go that far

Posted: Tue 10 Jan 2006 8:01 pm
by rosemary johnson
taking legal action is a good way to make money for lawyers.

Action against the optician?
What would you achieve by it??
A lot of hassle, legal bills, worry......

AIUI, they said they thought you *may* have it, and asked you to come back, and couldn't detect it on the second appointment.
You would have to prove, again AIUI, first that the second test (the one that didn't show up the KC) was don't negligently, and secondly that you had lost out in some big way because of it.
As you now have been diagnosed and are now in the process, you presumably haven't lost out except possibly by a few months, and as many of us here can testify, getting the right management strategy for our KC is a lifetime's process of continual adjustment.

From what you have sai, your C is not (yet) very severe, and nothing seriously untoward has happened in the interim that could have been avoided had you had an earlier diagnosis.

My personal opinion is that legal action would be a lot of aggro and expense, and could take up a lot of energy best applied elsewhere, out of proportion with any potential benefit.
My even more personal opinion is that e are moving too far into the "litigation culture". Eys, like the rest of human bodies, are biological systems not machines; they can change, do funny things, and don't always give blac-and0white readings.

ANother concern would be that, if it became known that people started suing if a healthcare person said "I think you might have X, come back for another test in Y months" and they then couldn't find X, but the person eventaully did prove to have it, then the health care people wouldn't want to (or would be banned by their insurance companies from) even suggesting it as a possibility.

I am not a lawyer, nor an optometrist; the above is all my own work, share prices can go up as well as down, and all the other usual caveats, of course.

Posted: Wed 11 Jan 2006 8:22 pm
by asylumxl
thats what i think but people around me have reacted differently. in my right eye its quite severe, with most machines unable to get readings for the shape.

i was just asking what everyone else thought, and it seems to be the same as what i think :D

Posted: Fri 13 Jan 2006 5:42 pm
by John Smith
[Topic moved to General Discussion area]

I wouldn't consider legal action. Your opticians would be less likely to be helping you if that was the case.

As Rosemary says, I can't see what good it would do anyway.

Posted: Fri 13 Jan 2006 5:53 pm
by jayuk

I agree with the other posters; if you was to seek legal advice and be awarded damages; the amount would not be great and it would be a long and tedious process.

The fact that someone said to you that "it has cleared up" clearly means that they had seen the irregular corneal shape and probably classified it as Astigmatism

More over, the defence would also have some strong arguments in there favour around the industry practices for conclusive KC diagnosis (Corneal Topography, Optham referal, etc etc); they could argue that the practice where you was seen did not have the funding or finance to have all this equipment etc......its could be endless!....and go on and on.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours; however do you really want to go through this hassle? Has this episode cost you anything? Are you at a loss in anyway? Has it negatively impacted your life?.....

Hope that helps


Posted: Sat 14 Jan 2006 2:38 am
by Sweet
Hhmm am a little confused here. Do you mean it was your local optician who said you may have it and then changed their mind? As opticians are not supposed to mention this for that reason, because saying like that they are very open to being sued! They are supposed to send you to a specialist at the hospital who will diagnose you not take it upon themselves to do it.

It is entirely your choice whatever you decide, but i would say that i agree with most here in saying that it would be a lot of time and hassle for something that hasn't been life threatening. The NHS is a very solid institute to sue and they will find top lawyers to contradict whatever you show up. My family sued when my mum got wrongly diagnosed with an ear infection and got sent home. She died an hour later with meningitis which is what she thought she had. It took seven years to get to court and if we had lost would have cost us thousands in legal fees. As it turned out we had to rely on our family in the end to support us when legal aid ran out.

It is very difficult to prove anything and i'm not sure what good would come out of this, but if you feel used by the system then you have every right to complain. Maybe though you could put it all in writing first before you take legal steps? I learnt a lot from my experience with my mum, in order to sue someone you need to prove beyond a doubt that they were wrong. That your life has been traumatised by this event and that you missed out on necessary care or treatment because you were wrongly diagnosed. if you feel that you can fulfil this criteria then you have every right to do so!

Take it easy and do whatever you feel is best for you :D Take care

Sweet X x X

Posted: Sat 14 Jan 2006 10:00 am
by GarethB
As far as I am aware, opticians can not make a diagnoses as such. If they suspect something, you get refered to a specialist that has all the equipment to make a thorough diagnosis.

It has been posted here in the past that an optician was tsruck off after a mother took her daughter for an eye test. The daughters eyes showed classic changes that pregnant women experience and told the mother that her daughters eyes were fine. It was down to her daughters pregnancy. The mother did not know her daughter was pregnant and the opticians amounted to a diagnoses they were not entitled to make so they were struck off!

KC is a very hhard thing to diagnose, especially if it is in its early stages, so the fact it was suspected on one visit and not detected on another is unfortunatly the nature of the beast that is KC. Especially in instances where it is always changing slightly.

Rather than dwell on the past and if living with KC has caused little to no issues withd daily luving, compensation will be small to non exisitent.

Now you know you have KC, get your sight sorted and enjoy life again.



Posted: Sat 14 Jan 2006 11:10 am
by jayboi2005
I say NO

I was diagnosed with KC the other day, and Specsavers told me thay had known since Jan 04 and i was mad because its Jan 06 people said sue. But i don't see the point they didnt do it to make me mad. I don't know why they did it but it wasnt to make me mad. And i just can't be bothered of month and days of court action. Going to court and all that. And then you will get yourself a name with the opticians in your area and you might not get one!

Posted: Sat 14 Jan 2006 11:23 am
by Andrew MacLean

I agree with the above!

I'd always understood that optometrists are not diagnisticians. they can see that we may have a problem, but is then for us to seek a medical diagnosis by going via our GP to an ophthalmologist.

Years ago I went to an optometrist in Aberdeen. He said something like, "I think you may have a problem that I can't correct. i suggest you go to your GP, tell him I suggested a referral to the eye infirmary."

I went. My GP said, 'that sounds like good advice'. I got the referral, the diagnosis and started to wear contact lenses.

Optometrists have an important part to play in the treatment and control of KC, but they are not physicians and neither are they ophthalmologists.

Let me also say how sorry I am to hear that you have been forced to join 'the few, the happy few, this band of siblings ..." I think you'll find the board a tremendous source of support and strength.

all the best


Posted: Sat 14 Jan 2006 2:02 pm
by Sweet
I would just like to add that i can understand the dilemma your optician must have been in, as he was probably very sure you had KC but couldn't diagnose it! Dam frustrating i would think, as then it is up to the patient to go to their GP and wait to be seen by their hospital, which unfortunately all takes time and makes us worry.

I think you would be doing the right thing to leave it alone, as while i fought because someone died i'm not so sure that you would have a case. Yes you were told you may have it and then not, but you were advised to go and see a specialist to prove it. Therefore the defence would claim that the only thing that was done wrong was mentioning it to you! There was nothing else that could be done in that time, so there is no malpractice unless the boards governing opticians want to take it any further with your optician because he was diagnosing.

I think you need to now concentrate on your eyesight and finding something that works for you. It is very easy for other people to tell you what to do, but in the end this is your eyesight and is down to you. All the best with it and do drop in and let us know how you're doing!!

Sweet X x X