What to do about surgery that shouldn’t have been performed?

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What to do about surgery that shouldn’t have been performed?

My moms optometrist suggested eye surgery due to glacouma in one eye which was a little hazy. She previously had surgery some months prior to this in the same eye for a tumor in her putituary gland so now I’m thinking her eye wasn’t strong enough for this recent surgery. A few days after her glaucoma surgery she’s now 80% blind in that eye. Now she’s unable to drive and worst off now after the operation.

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Malpractice Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If a reasonable doctor would not have performed this surgery given your mother's medical history, this may be malpractice; if so, your mother would be entitled to compensation for the diminution of her sight and the impact on her life (as well as money to pay for any necessary subsequent medical care). From what you write, it would be worthwhile for your mother to consult with a medical malpractice attorney, who could evaluate her situation, the strength of her case, and what it might be worth, in light of all the circumstances.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother's loss of vision.

Your mother's doctor was probably an opthalmologist (M.D.) and not an optometrist because an optometrist cannot perform surgery.

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

It would be advisable to have your mother examined by another opthalmologist, who could also review her medical records.  That doctor could write a report supporting a malpractice claim.

Prior to filing a lawsuit against the first doctor, it may be possible to settle the case with the first doctor's medical malpractice insurance carrier.  Your mother's claim filed with the medical malpractice insurance carrier should include her medical bills, medical reports, and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of her injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is a substantial amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If your mother is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor.  If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, the lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your mother will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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