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45-year old man suffers permanent injury to his eye after multiple unnecessary surgeries

Type of Injury: Eye Injury
Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
Settlement Amount: $350,000.00

Beginning in February 2001 and continuing until, approximately, December 2008, the plaintiff's defendant-ophthalmologist performed approximately 30 procedures on M-45's left eye. The original procedure in February 2001 was a clear lens exchange. According to her testimony and records, the defendant-doctor had performed a clear lens exchange on the right eye in January 2001. For all of the care and treatment to both the left and right eyes, the doctor only billed Plaintiff $5,000. Those monies were paid for the bilateral lens exchanges in January/February 2001.

Plaintiff’s expert, Robert L. Lamberg, M.D. (Ophthalmology Consultants (St. Louis, MO)), opined that it is difficult to differentiate the individual procedures (some negligent and others not) from the compounding of chronic surgical insult to the eye, as any one of them being the problem. Dr. Lamberg opined that Plaintiff, based on the fact that he was never corrected to 20/20, had cystoid macular edema and, yet, the doctor continued to procedure to correct a prescription, much of which was probably related to the retinal edema.

Defendant contends that the doctor complied with the applicable standard of care and that Plaintiff suffered no harm as a result of the care provided by the doctor. The defendant’s expert, Sanjay N. Rao, MD (Lakeside Eye Group, S.C. (Chicago, IL)), opined that Plaintiff suffered from an unfortunate and unpreventable disease of the eyes that caused deterioration of his vision. Further, Dr. Rao opined that the doctor “had good intentions and was responding to the patient’s complaints with your various procedures.” According to the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center website, Drs. Rao and the defendant-doctor are both party of the hospital’s vision services team.

Injuries: Due to the alleged medical negligence of the defendant, and because of all of the negligently performed and unnecessary surgeries, Plaintiff has significant conditions regarding his left eye. His visual acuity (VA) is very low and is described on the semi-quantitative scale as “counting fingers” (CF), i.e., it is always “blurry”. He has terrible night vision and must always wear sunglasses. He has photophobia outdoors (also indoors with light bulbs) and the brightness of the sunlight causes his left eye to become completely cloudy and white. His left eye is always drying up and necessitates the constant use of eye drops. His left eye no longer makes its own tears to maintain the eye’s moisture. He has ptosis of the eyelid. He has corneal edema. He’s in chronic low-grade discomfort. He’s on two expensive glaucoma drops along with some saline drops and/or ointment to try and keep the swelling down.

Specials: Medicals: N/A Lost Income: N/A Occupation: N/A

What Each Defendant Paid: Defendant-doctor ($350,000)

Insurance Company: Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company insured the defendant.

NOTE: This settlement report was, also, reported in the Cook County & Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter on February 1, 2013.

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