Vision Loss Resulting from Eye Infection: $1.5M Settlement
2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Failure of ophthalmologist to diagnose and treat endophthalmitis in type 2 diabetic results in vision loss
The plaintiff had a medical history significant for Type-2 Diabetes diagnosed in 2002 and bilateral diabetic retinopathy diagnosed in 2006. He was being treated for the retinopathy with laser treatments and injections. As of May 2012, he had undergone 4 separate laser treatments to both eyes and 13 injections to the right eye alone. The last injection was May 2, 2012. On May 4, 2012 he called his physician with complaints related to the right eye and was told to go immediately to the emergency room. He presented to the Emergency Department complaining of 10 out of 10 right eye pain, redness and light sensitivity.
He was seen in the ED by the defendant who was an ophthalmology fellow. A full eye exam was performed and he diagnosed the plaintiff with acute iritis. The plaintiff was instructed to follow up with his diabetes provider that Monday. There was no indication in the record that the defendant discussed the patient, his history, complaints, findings, or his diagnosis with an ophthalmology attending physician. No antibiotics or steroids were prescribed which is essential to treat the infection and preserve vision.
On 5/6/12, the day before his scheduled follow-up appointment, the plaintiff presented to the Emergency Department of another hospital facility with ongoing right eye pain and worsening vision. Examination of the right eye revealed findings consistent with endophthalmitis, an inflammatory condition of the intraocular cavities usually caused by infection.
The plaintiff underwent treatment over the next two months, including multiple rounds of antibiotic injections, topical steroids, systemic antibiotics, exams, scans and ultrasounds. He was eventually diagnosed with a completely non-perfused retina, resulting in complete and permanent blindness in his right eye due to the delay in treating the infection in the right eye.
The defendant settled the case during the discovery phase for $1.5 million; a trial date had not been scheduled and expert disclosures were not provided.
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