Sinus Surgery Lawsuit Settles for $1 Million

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Woman loses vision in one eye following sinus surgery with injury of the lamina papyracea

On 7/1/11, the plaintiff went to the defendant otorhinolaryngologist for surgery after failing conservative treatment for chronic sinusitis. The planned surgery (at Metrowest Medical Center) included correction of a deformity to the nasal septum, reduction of nasal tissue, and surgical formation of an opening in the nose. The defendant noted that the risks of the procedure included a rare risk of infection and bleeding. The defendant noted no problems during surgery, completed the procedure, and the plaintiff was taken to the recovery room.

Post-operatively, the plaintiff complained of right eye pain and had drooping of her eyelid with vision loss. An ophthalmologist was called to examine the plaintiff who noted that she had no light perception in her right eye. It was determined that she had suffered a right optic nerve infarction, possibly from direct trauma to the optic nerve.

A CT scan of the orbits was performed. The study revealed a fracture of the anterior wall of the right maxillary sinus. Also noted was a fracture of the right lamina papyracea with soft tissue stranding of the right orbit involving the superior muscle complex and the orbital fat. The diagnosis included right vision loss following sinus surgery with injury of the lamina papyracea. The plaintiff has not regained any vision in her right eye. Her injury is expected to be permanent.

The plaintiff was prepared to offer expert medical testimony that the defendant was negligent in his performance of the plaintiff’s sinus surgery by failing to visualize the proper anatomy which caused a fracture and orbital injury with complete, total, permanent vision loss. The plaintiff’s expert was expected to testify that the injury suffered by the plaintiff cannot happen without negligence on the part of the surgeon.

The defendant was expected to have presented expert medical testimony that the injury was a risk of the procedure and can occur without negligence on the part of the surgeon.

The case settled for the defendant’s policy limits of $1,000,000.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this lawsuit.

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