Loss of Vision in Left Eye
WRSH partner, Jason Rubin, obtained a $1.2 million verdict in a medical malpractice case for our client, a 71 year old woman, who had a pre-existing visual field loss in her left eye due to glaucoma and underwent cataract surgery in the same eye. In the week following the surgery, plaintiff had multiple visits with the defendant ophthalmologist to monitor her intraocular pressure.
During an office visit on postoperative day 6, plaintiff presented a dramatic loss of visual acuity (20/400) and an increase in the presence of cells in the anterior chamber of the eye-- an indication of increasing inflammation. The defendant ophthalmologist attributed the loss of visual acuity to a disruption of the surface of the cornea and advised plaintiff to return in two days.
On postoperative day 8, plaintiff returned to the defendant's office and had pain and no vision in her left eye, as well as cells in the vitreous, redness of the conjunctiva and the presence of hypopyon (pus) in the anterior chamber. She was diagnosed with endophthalmitis-- an infection of the eye-- and was referred to a retinal specialist for administration of intravitreal antibiotics and vitreal tap. She underwent a vitrectomy the next day. Plaintiff had a poor visual outcome in that she had only counting fingers vision after the infection cleared.
At trial, Jason claimed that the ophthalmologist who saw plaintiff on postoperative day 6 was negligent in failing to refer plaintiff to a retinal specialist for further evaluation and treatment in light of the fact that her visual acuity loss and increase in inflammation was indicative of endophthalmitis. He claimed that the two day delay in treatment of endophthalmitis diminished plaintiff's chance for a better visual outcome.
Our client testified that, as a result of her vision loss in the left eye, she has been unable to drive any further than a mile from her home, which prevents her from visiting friends and family. Additionally, she subsequently developed a cataract in her right eye for which she required surgery. She suffered great anxiety that a complication during this surgery would render her totally blind.
The jury awarded $600,000 for past pain and suffering and $600,000.00 for future pain and suffering.