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Veteran receives a $925,000 medical malpractice settlement

A U.S. Army veteran undergoing routine cataract surgery at a Veterans Affairs hospital filed a medical malpractice suit after suffering a severe eye injury. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs agreed in an out-of-court settlement to compensate the 60-year-old patient $925,000. The third-year resident whose actions reportedly caused the injury was not threatened by the lawsuit because her status as a Federal government employee grants her immunity from such suits.

According to the malpractice suit, the resident was administering a local anesthetic for the cataract procedure. The resident injected the medication directly into the man’s right eye rather than behind it. Failing to recognize the error, she then injected the drug so quickly that the patient’s eye exploded due to the excessive pressure.

The veteran’s attorney said that the injury not only caused blindness in the right eye, but also caused substantial pain and cosmetic damage, leaving him with a missing iris and a drooping eyelid. Any damage to the remaining eye, the attorney added, could leave the patient totally blind.

The attorney also stated that the patient was left unable to read or watch television as readily as before the mishap due to strain on his remaining eye. The injury also impeded his ability to drive more than short distances. The resulting loss of depth perception has left the man unable to retain his roofing job, said the attorney. He has since found employment in a university maintenance department.

The malpractice lawsuit settlement should allow the man to pay for his medical bills and hold the responsible parties accountable for their medical negligence.

Source: Connecticut Post, “VA pays $925,000 in Bridgeport exploding eyeball suit,” Daniel Tepfer, June 27, 2011

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