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Patient left permanently blind after hospital failure

A patient was left with permanent sight loss after a hospital failed to spot the signs of a blood vessel blockage for several months. The person referred to only as Mr L, visited the emergency department at one of Wales' hospitals in January, 2018, but medics failed to consider the possibility he had suffered a watershed stroke.

Details of how it took nine months before Mr L was offered a scan to consider this diagnosis have been described in a report from the Public Service Ombudsman detailing the care under Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board.

The Ombudsman, Michelle Morris, also slammed the health board for its failure to act promptly with the complaints process. She said she "cannot fail to be shocked by the fact that, although Mr L first complained to the health board in June, 2019, it took until February, 2023 for it to recognise any failings."

The report details how between January and September, 2018, the health board failed to promptly and appropriately identify, investigate and treat a blockage of blood vessels in his neck (a condition called carotid artery stenosis, where the blockage restricts the blood flow to the middle of the brain, face and head). Mr L also complained that when the issue was eventually identified in September, there was a delay in getting the treatment (surgery) until November.

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Source: Wales Online, 2 November 2023


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