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Man awarded £65,000 after losing eyesight following wrong diagnosis

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A ‘FIT AND HEALTHY’ grandad of four lost his sight, had a stroke and a double heart bypass, and will eventually lose his eye, after an on-call ophthalmologist failed to investigate his symptoms on New Year’s Day.

When 74-year-old Andrew Baker of Narberth, woke up on January 1, 2017, with black spots in front of his eyes, never could he have imagined that just days later he would have lost all vision in one eye.

When the black spots started to turn into floaters, redness, pain and loss of vision in his right eye later that day, Mr Baker – who had never experienced issues with his sight before – took the advice of his GP son-in-law and went straight to A&E at Glangwili General Hospital.

Mr Baker was seen by a doctor and his condition was discussed with the on-call ophthalmologist over the phone but, as it was New Year’s Day, the ophthalmologist failed to attend to examine him. Diagnosed with vitreous haemorrhage and with a plan put in place for him to be provided with ointment and analgesia, Mr Baker went home.

Had Mr Baker been examined by an ophthalmologist, it would have been confirmed as an ophthalmic emergency and he would have undergone a vitreous biopsy and antibiotic injections, which would have saved some of the sight in his right eye.

The following day, Mr Baker woke up to find that he was completely blind in his right eye and in severe pain. He attended the Tysul Eye Unit at Glangwili General Hospital on January 3, 4 and 5 – and was diagnosed with endogenous endophthalmitis – a very severe sight-threatening condition. Mr Baker was then told that a mistake had been made and that the two days in between his symptoms first appearing and his condition being confirmed had been critical with his sight loss.

The first 48 hours from this condition developing are vital in attempting to save the vision in the eye and the on-call ophthalmologist’s failure to attend the hospital to examine Mr Baker and the wrongful diagnosis of vitreous haemorrhage meant that Mr Baker’s eye sight could not be saved.

On January 6, Mr Baker was operated on to try to save the vision in his right eye, however this proved unsuccessful and he lost complete vision in his right eye. He subsequently required an operation to repair the inward turning of the eyelid and in the future, will need an operation to remove the eye.

Mr Baker contacted Fletchers Solicitors to commence a medical negligence claim against the Hywel Dda University Health Board on his behalf.

Fletchers successfully pursued the claim and Mr Baker was awarded £65,000 from the hospital for the delay in diagnosis.

Andrew Tindall, litigation executive in the medical negligence team at Fletchers Solicitors, said: “The facts of this case go to show just how important physical examinations of patients are, and that in some instances a diagnosis over the telephone can have devastating consequences.

“If the on-call ophthalmologist had attended to Mr Baker as he/she should have done, he would still have some sight in his right eye and would not require the removal of his eye in the future. No amount of money will bring the sight back in Mr Baker’s eye, but I do hope the compensation awarded can go some way to helping Mr Baker with his future needs.”

After his operation, Andrew’s health went rapidly downhill. He had a mini-stroke due to endocarditis and had to have a double heart bypass. In September 2017, Andrew had a recurrence of endocarditis, was put on an intensive course of intravenous antibiotics and was in hospital for six weeks.

Mr Baker commented: “I am bitterly upset at my loss of vision; particularly because I have been told that if I had been treated in time, it could have been saved.

“I just wanted an apology and someone to say that they were sorry for letting this happen to me. I’ve known people who have lost their vision, but I didn’t appreciate the impact it has on your life – it’s completely ruined my life. I can’t drive or read anymore; there is so much that I am no longer able to do.”

“I was a fit 72-year-old and now I’m like an old man. I used to walk about eight miles a day but now I’m lucky if I can manage 600 yards.  Some days I don’t even want to get up in the morning because I know I’m not going to be able to do the things that I want to do. I had such a good life and I’ve lost so much.”

Mr Baker has had three operations to try to repair his eye and give him some vision back, but each operation has failed.

Mr Baker added: “Andrew was extremely efficient, and I was very, very pleased with all his efforts on my behalf. He was amazing throughout the case.

“The compensation was greater than I ever expected, and it will help with things that I need in the future, but nothing can compensate for what I’ve lost.”

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Dyfed-Powys Police Prepares for Royal Welsh Show

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is inviting Royal Welsh Show visitors to their stand to find out more about what the force is doing to protect the public over the summer months and beyond.

The stand, located at E340 behind the main grandstand, will be bringing to life key pledges and crime prevention messages from the Chief Constable’s Police and Crime Delivery plan, which sets out how police will tackle crime and keep people safe.

The force will be showcasing their summer campaign, called #EnjoyDPP, which is about helping people who live in, work in and visit the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys respect those areas and prevent crime from occurring.

Rural-trained officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police will be offering practical advice, at the police stand. They will also be on patrol throughout the showground listening to any concerns from the farming community. They will be accompanied by other officers, staff, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Special Constables and Police Cadets.

Specialist officers will also be speaking to landlords about County Lines drugs, and the signs to look out for that might show a tenant is being exploited by gangs, in a practice known as ‘cuckooing’.

The police will have a stand at The Royal Welsh Show.

Superintendent of Powys, Ifan Charles, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is the biggest event of the year we police in Dyfed-Powys, and also where we concentrate huge efforts on engaging positively with visitors to the show at our police stand.

“Come and say hello, meet our experienced and knowledgeable officers and staff and find out more about our commitment to keeping all of our communities safe by giving people the advice and confidence to protect themselves effectively.”

Visitors will be able to explore police vehicles, chat to Tarian colleagues about cyber-crime, meet a police dog, dress up as a police officer or Police Community Support Officer and solve a crime using real police techniques. Venture inside, relax on a hay bale and have a chat with experts on issues including rural crime, cyber-crime, issues that affect children and so much more.

Key partners will also be based at the stand including Crimestoppers, Modern Slavery group, Tarian and GoSafe.

There will also be a special children’s corner where young people can have their fingerprints taken, colour a police-themed picture or dress-up as a police officer or PCSO.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has a host of activities planned throughout the week. In addition to engaging with our communities, he is particularly keen to hear from victims of rural crime about their experiences when contacting police.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The Royal Welsh Show is a great opportunity for me to engage with the public and gather their views on specific policing matters. This year, my team will be at the showground speaking to members of the public about rural crime and police contact. Please head over to speak to my team so that we can hear your views.”

The force is also offering advice for people heading to the Royal Welsh Show, including home security, personal safety and advice for people towing caravans.

Personal Safety:

Before you leave the house, take a photograph of your child. You’ll then know what they’re wearing if they become lost.
Write your contact number on a slip of paper and put it on your child’s person.
Before you head inside, double check your vehicle is locked and any valuables are safely out of sight.

Home Security:

. Lock your home, vehicles and outbuildings before you leave.
. Take your keys with you.
. Switch on any CCTV or alarm systems.
. Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties while they are away.

Caravan Safety:

. Check your driving licence. Do you have the correct category to tow?
. Number plates must be fitted to the rear of the caravan. They must comply with the regulations and not . be hand-written in pen on caravan OR written on a piece of paper or cardboard
. Ensure brakes and external lights are working correctly
. Check wheels, tyres, wheel bearings and suspensions are in good condition. This is particularly           important if the caravan has been stationary for some time
.Tyres should be all the same type and size and have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Also check the   pressure

For more advice visit this website: https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/advice-for-beginners/

There is more information for visitors on the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’s website: http://www.rwas.wales/royal-welsh-show/

For updates on our activity follow us on Twitter @DyfedPowys, or like our page on Facebook.

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Valleys Taskforce extended to Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys

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THE GWENDRAETH and Amman Valleys are being included in the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce, the Deputy Economy Minister and Transport Lee Waters has announced.

“These valleys are culturally very much part of the South Wales coalfield and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to alter the boundaries to bring them into the Valleys Taskforce so that they can benefit from ongoing work to drive investment and opportunities,” said Lee Waters.

“I got into politics to help the kinds of places I grew up in, so I am really pleased to announce we are extending the boundaries of the Valleys Taskforce to include the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys” the AM for the Llanelli constituency added.

The announcement comes as the Valleys Taskforce announces a programme to bring empty homes back into use. Owners of houses that have been empty for more than a year in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys will be able to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 to bring the home back into use.

The £10 Million project is based on a pilot in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is being rolled out across the south Wales valleys.

“Tackling the problem of empty houses helps improve the feel of an area as well as providing homes for families. The Rhondda Cynon Taf scheme has shown us that applicants are choosing local businesses to undertake the refurbishment work, keeping money in the community and improving employment prospects. We want to support and encourage this as we roll the scheme out.” Lee added.

Local member of parliament Nia Griffith said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government recognises the importance of supporting the local economy in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys, and this announcement today is very good news for West Wales.”

Councillor for the Tycroes ward in the Amman valley, Tina Higgins said: “I welcome the announcement that the Amman And Gwendraeth valleys are to be included in the Welsh Government Valleys Task Force area.

“This is extremely good news for the area. I look forward to supporting Lee Waters AM with this initiative and will be representing the views of residents in my ward whenever I can.”

Councillor Dorothy Jones, representing Llannon in the Gwendraeth valley said: “This is an exciting development for my ward and the Gwendraeth valley. I hope that we can use this new status to deliver affordable housing based on local income for residents and improve employment prospects in the area.

“I’m glad our AM Lee Waters has been able to deliver such strong support for the area and I’m looking forward to working with him as the taskforce moves forward.”

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First vegan supermarket opens in Llanelli

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THE FIRST vegan supermarket has opened its doors in Llanelli thanks to the support of a grant from Carmarthenshire County Council.

Kind Earth served its first customers with organic and locally sourced produce from its Stradey District Centre store in Maes Y Coed on Friday.

The business, owned by local resident Matt Rogerson, was supported with a grant of £4,435 through the council’s business start-up fund which is linked to job creation.

The money was used to purchase equipment including an EPOS system, fridges and freezers, shelving, trollies, baskets and light fittings.

The business is a plastic free zone offering paper bags and paper carriers to customers as packaging.

In addition to selling groceries, the store will run a terracycle scheme and host to a number of events including litter picking days and workshops on a wide range of topics to improve lifestyles.

Kind Earth’s Matt Rogerson said opening the store was a dream come true for him.

He said: “I’ve been so excited to open Kind Earth, and grateful to the council for the start-up grant and belief which helped pursue my dream. I hope that between myself and my stakeholders we can make our local and global community a better place. The shop is not only a vegan supermarket where people can buy fresh good quality locally sourced grocery items but offers customers to get involved in initiatives and workshops to make us a healthier and more sustainable community.”

Mr Rogerson said he hopes to employ in the future.

Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I am happy that we were able to provide funding to support Kind Earth to develop a new business that will benefit the community and offer people a wider choice of food.

As a council we remain committed to strengthening our local economy and giving the people of Carmarthenshire as much choice as possible.”

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