WHEN CATARACT SURGERY CAUSES PERSONAL INJURY
“If you’ve suffered an adverse outcome after cataract surgery, you might be wondering if you can or should sue your eye doctor for medical malpractice,” Coulter Boeschen comments in alllaw.com. As with any surgery, he explains, “there is a fine line between known risks and surgical errors.”
What is cataract surgery?
The purpose of cataract surgery is to remove a cloudy lens from the eye, replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. When proteins in the lens break down, the result can be blurry, distorted, or double vision, extra sensitivity to light, and poor night vision. The only way to remove a cataract is through surgery.
Risks of cataract surgery:
While all surgeries involve the possibility of complications, including infection, bleeding, and swelling, cataract surgery carries additional risks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains. Those risks include:
- detached retina
- blurred vision
- vision loss
- dislocation of the implant
Can a person sue for a poor outcome after cataract surgery?
Even when a patient experiences injury as the result of cataract surgery, that does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice has taken place, we explain at Ramey & Hailey Law. It must be proven that the medical practitioner failed to provide treatment in line with the standard of care that any reasonably competent health care practitioner would have provided under the same circumstances.
The 5 basic requirements malpractice claims must satisfy:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship.
- The doctor caused harm in a way that a competent doctor would not have, given the same circumstances.
- The doctor’s negligence is what caused the injury.
- The injury led to specific harm (physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, lost earnings).
- The claim is brought soon after the injury (In Indiana, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is two years).
- The process begins with an Indiana medical review panel consisting of one attorney and three healthcare providers, who review the records to determine if the medical provider failed to conform to the appropriate standard of care.
- A lawsuit is then filed.
- If the doctor is found guilty of malpractice, he or she pays a maximum of $500,000 per claim, with any amounts above that covered by the Patient’s Compensation Fund up to $1,800,000.
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit after cataract surgery, experience counts.
Because the provision of surgery and medical care is so highly specialized a field, expert testimony is going to be required to prove the case. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys must rely on decades of experience in determining negligence by the physician and, conversely, lack of contributory negligence on the part of the patient.
There is a lot at stake in a medical malpractice case involving cataract surgery. Recovery might include the cost of medical treatments and therapies, time missed from work, pain, and emotional distress.
When cataract surgery causes personal injury
“In the practice of medicine, some adverse outcomes are unavoidable,” the authors of a paper published by the American Ophthalmological Society, admitting that “given the frequency of this procedure, perhaps it is not surprising that cataract surgery is the single most frequently named procedure in malpractice actions against ophthalmologists”.1