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Posted on 31st July 2017

Optometrist Fails To Spot Fatal Eye Condition

The family of an eight year old boy are devastated that the Courts have overturned a manslaughter conviction after an optometrist failed to spot a life threatening disease.

The condition where the boy had swollen optic disks is a symptom of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and the Boots optometrist failed to diagnose the condition at an eye test appointment 5 months prior to his death.

The family of the boy sought legal redress for the failings of the optometrist and Judge Jeremy Stuart-Smith sentenced her for gross negligence manslaughter. She was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison term.

In an appeal to the conviction, Sir Brian Leveson and two other judges allowed the appeal and overturned the conviction because although there had been a “serious breach of duty” but it did not constitute the crime of gross negligence manslaughter.

Sir Brian Leveson commented “The question raised by this case can be simply stated.” “In assessing reasonable foreseeability of serious and obvious risk of death in cases of gross negligence manslaughter, is it appropriate to take into account what a reasonable person in the position of the defendant would have known but for his or her breach of duty”.

He added “Were the answer otherwise, this would fundamentally undermine the established legal test of foreseeability in gross negligence manslaughter which requires proof of a serious and obvious risk of death at the time of breach”


Clinical Negligence does not just happen in a hospital or GP surgery, it can happen anywhere that there is a healthcare provider including care homes, dental surgeries Optometrists or if care is provided at home.

If you or a loved one has received treatment by a healthcare professional or if your medical condition has been misdiagnosed causing you further injury, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Telephone 0330 355 9210 or e-mail us at for a free claim assessment.