Justice For Our Client: Negligent Doctor Dismisses Detached Retina July 10, 2023.
Our Client’s Medical Malpractice Story
On August 19, 2019, David K. woke up in the morning with blurry vision in his left eye. Immediately concerned, David drove to the nearest Emergency Room. He was told that he needed to be seen by an eye doctor and got referred to an ophthalmologist to be evaluated. The eye doctor saw blood in David's eye but assured him that it was nothing to worry about. The doctor continued to dismiss David’s concerns and stated that the blood could be from a broken blood vessel.
Both David and his wife expressed that they were worried that the blood could be from a detached retina. A detached retina is defined by The Cleveland Clinic as “The retina, the layer of tissue in the back of the eye, pulls away from tissues supporting it… A detached retina needs treatment as soon as possible.”
The eye doctor continued to reassure them that a detached retina was not the cause of David’s problem. What the doctor did not tell them was that he did not know the cause of the blood, and he could not be certain that it was not a detached retina. The doctor also failed to mention that an ultrasound could be done to rule out a detached retina, but he did not own an ultrasound. The doctor was also aware that David had 4 separate risk factors for a detached retina, but chose not to refer him to a retina specialist.
Risk factors of retinal detachment include:
- Previous cataract surgery
- Extreme nearsightedness
- Severe eye injury
- Family history of the condition
David and his wife were going on a pre-planned vacation in the following days to Jamaica. They were concerned about going since the cause of the blood in David’s eye was still unknown. The doctor continuously reassured them that they had nothing to worry about. Before leaving for vacation David went back to the doctor and asked if it was ok for him to travel. The doctor told him that it was ok to travel but to “take it easy” while he was on the trip. The doctor did not do anything further to examine the retina the day before they left for their trip.
While on their flight to Jamaica, a dark curtain came across David’s eye, which blocked his vision. This symptom is a tell-tale sign that the retina had detached from the back of his eye.
Other symptoms of a detached retina include:
- Blurred vision
- Flashes of light in 1 or both eyes
- The appearance of specks that “drift” through your field of vision
- Reduced peripheral vision
Upon arriving in Jamaica, David immediately called the eye doctor but got sent to the answering machine. After the doctor did not call David back, he scheduled an appointment at The Cleveland Clinic and returned home the next day. He had to undergo 5 surgeries to try to repair the damage to his eye due to the delay in diagnosis. David now has permanent vision loss in his left eye at 20/80.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Outcome
The Mellino Law Firm represented David and his wife in their medical malpractice case. David and his wife were able to secure a substantial settlement on their behalf, with The Mellino Law Firm. Unfortunately in Ohio, the law places a cap of $1 million that a person can recover for the loss of sight. The Mellino Law Firm was successful in fighting the attempt to restrict this amount even further. David and his wife obtained a confidential resolution very close to the maximum amount, without the clients having to go to trial.