A locum optometrist has been charged with manslaughter following the death of an eight-year-old patient in 2012.Honey Rose, 34, from Newham in east London, was charged with manslaughter caused by negligence after failing to diagnose a papilloedema during an eye examination.
Vincent Barker, a pupil at Dale Hall Primary School in Ipswich, died on 13 July 2012 after reportedly being taken ill at school.
According to the Daily Mail, he received an eye examination in February 2012 which was administered by Ms Rose while she locumed at a Boots Opticians in Ipswich. The tabloid reports that Vincent Barker, a keen footballer, had swelling of the optic nerve and that “prosecutors allege that this swelling should have been picked” during the eye examination.
At an initial hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (8 September), Ms Rose confirmed her name, address and date of birth. No representations or pleas were entered on her behalf and she was released on unconditional bail.
The case will be sent to Ipswich Crown Court, with an initial hearing scheduled for next Thursday (17 September). The Ipswich Star reports that a trial window has been given between 25 January and 4 March, 2016.Commenting on the proceedings, a spokesperson for the Association of Optometrists (AOP) told OT: “The AOP is aware that AOP member Honey Rose is the subject of criminal proceedings relating to a tragic event which is devastating for all involved.
“We are not aware of any previous criminal cases involving optometrists which relate to clinical matters. We are unable to comment further on the details of the case as this is now a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service.”
Ms Rose was handed an interim order by the General Optical Council in March 2013 for a period of 18 months, which was changed to an interim suspension order last month (August 19).
Papilloedema is one of several conditions listed by the College of Optometrists as requiring emergency referral within 24 hours. The increase in cerebrospinal fluid pressure can be indicative of a number of serious conditions, including brain tumours, meningitis or a blood clot.