Boy, 6, has eye glued shut after nurse bungles treatment to cut head
Last updated at 3:48 PM on 15th March 2010
A six-year-old boy was left blind in one eye for almost a week after a surgical glue applied by a nurse to close a head wound dripped into his eye.
Lewis Farrell screamed in agony as the glue closed his eye shut during treatment at a hospital casualty unit for a cut forehead sustained in a playground fall.
Today his mother, Becky Lewis, told how she fears the child may suffer permanent damage to his sight after the hospital blunder.
Lewis Farrell was left in agony after surgical glue applied to a head wound trickled into his eye, leaving him unable to see out of it for almost a week
She accused staff at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham of being more interested in covering up for what they had done than apologising for the error.
Mrs Lewis said: 'The nurse asked Lewis to sit upright before squirting glue on to his head. She made no effort to stop the glue dripping down.
'Then as she turned around, it dripped into his eye. They should have realised something like this could have happened.
Since the incident, Lewis has woken up most nights suffering from nightmares.
'He is only six and it was terrifying for him and for me to see him like that.
'He was crying and shouting, "Mummy, I can't open my eyes" - he was hysterical.
'The nursing sister kept saying, "I've never seen this before in my life", but no one apologised for what they had done to Lewis.
'The staff were trying to make excuses and cover up their error for each other and that made me so angry.'
Medics spent almost six hours trying to drip fluid into the eye to ease it open before eventually discharging Lewis home to his mother and father, Martin Farrell, a 26-year-old car parts engineer, with the patch and advice to keep bathing his right eye.
He has had to wear an eye patch since the incident last Tuesday and has been unable to return to school because the eye is still sore, with 'clumps' of glue still in and around it.
Doctors called the glue's manufacturer who assured them that the product was water-based and posed no risk of permanent eyesight damage.
But the couple, from Northfield, Birmingham, who have three other children, are planning to get a second medical opinion.
Mrs Lewis, a housewife, added: 'My concern is that if they say this hasn't happened before, how can they be sure about that?
'I will be getting a second opinion. There should be a standard practice in place to ensure that glue doesn't trickle into someone's eye.
'Lewis has been left mentally traumatised by the ordeal - he hasn't slept properly because he is suffering nightmares about what happened and not being able to see.'
Hospitals are increasingly using medical adhesives to close wounds instead of butterfly strips or stitches to avoid the uncomfortable and painful process of sewing and later removing stitches, particularly when children are involved.
The glue is chemically similar to that used in factories but has been sterilised and modified for medical use.
Gareth Duggan, a spokesman for University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, which runs Selly Oak Hospital, said new procedures had been put in place to prevent it happening again.
He said: 'Due to issues of patient confidentiality, we cannot comment on this case.
'But the Trust has reviewed its procedure and upon advice from consultant staff, an eye patch will be applied prior to application of tissue glue in any future closure of this nature.
'The adhesive used poses no risk to health or vision and loses its adhesive power over a period of one or four days, after which the eye opens normally.'
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