When cataract surgery causes blindness in one eye, a medical malpractice lawsuit is likely. Cataract surgery has become quite commonplace in the U.S. The procedure is typically performed on an out-patient basis. When the procedure is complete, the patient goes home and allows the eye to heal. It is very unusual for the patient to be harmed by the negligence or error of a medical provider involved in the procedure.
When something goes wrong during a cataract procedure, the harm is often irreversible and tragic. In one such medical malpractice case, a 64-year-old woman (plaintiff) who was a retired IT professional underwent cataract surgery that blinded her in one eye.
When the procedure began, the anesthesiologist should have injected local anesthesia into the muscle surrounding the eye. This is called a peribulbar block. The anesthetic should never be injected into the eye itself. The surgeon tried to begin the cataract removal procedure, but discovered that the eye was “mushy and soft” with clearly visible bleeding. Upon further inspection, the surgeon also observed a number of puncture wounds in the globe of the patient’s eye and a detached retina.
The surgeon then immediately requested emergency assistance from a retina specialist. The retina specialist confirmed the surgeon’s observations. The retina specialist also identified a large tear in the sclera of the eye (the outer layer of the eyeball). This error caused increased pressure and caused the sclera to rupture at its thinnest point. This was the result of the anesthesiologist injecting anesthesia into the globe of the eye.
The surgeon and the retina specialist made several attempts to save the eye. The patient suffered repeated detachments of the retina. The eye also developed a good deal of scar tissue. The likelihood of saving the eye decreased with each detachment and the increase in scar tissue. It soon became clear that the eye could not be saved. The plaintiff is now permanently blind in the affected eye. She has only some ability to see light with the eye.
The plaintiff and her attorney claimed that injecting the anesthetic into the globe of the eye was a breach of standard of care by the anesthesiologist, as well as a failure to recognize the complication.
Between filing and serving the case, it was resolved at mediation. The outcome of the mediation was a settlement for the plaintiff of $600,000.
If you or a loved one is harmed due to the wrongdoing or negligence of a medical provider, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your damages. If you believe you may have a case, discus the case with trusted medical malpractice attorney Bettina Altizer. She and her team of experienced experts will help you to assess the merits of your case, to gather needed evidence and records, and to represent you in an appropriate legal action. The experts at Altizer Law, P.C., will represent you aggressively and tenaciously to obtain the largest possible financial settlement or award under Virginia law.