When you think of how precious your eyesight is, you might become livid to think that an eye doctor’s negligent treatment caused you to lose it. You trust your doctor to have the training and expertise to treat you when you have an illness or an injury, and you trust him/her to refer you to another doctor when you have a condition that is beyond the scope of their training or specialty. Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients to comport with the accepted standard of care for their area of specialty and within their medical community.
There is a case in New Hampshire, where a jury awarded a woman $5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against her ophthalmologist. The jury found the eye doctor liable for medical malpractice after failed treatments left his patient legally blind.
The doctor was treating the patient for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, a condition which can worsen vision, but can be treated and does not always lead to blindness. The doctor had been treating this woman for eight years. At the first stage of treatment, the patient lost most of the vision in her left eye, then she lost vision in her right eye, which then had to be removed because the treatments had caused the eye to shrink. She received a glass eye to replace the eye that was removed. The doctor treated the woman’s age-related macular degeneration with a steroid that was too aggressive and caused the patient intense pain.
According to the Law360 blog, the trial lasted for six days and the jury deliberated for two days. They jury determined that the doctor had deviated from the standard of care which caused the damage to her right eye and left her legally blind. The plaintiff was awarded $4.7 million in compensation for medical negligence and her husband was awarded $350,000 for loss of consortium.
Determining medical malpractice
Not every medical procedure that has an unfavorable outcome can be considered medical malpractice. In order to meet the requirements for medical malpractice, a plaintiff would have to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the doctor or other medical professional was negligent and the doctor’s negligence caused their injury. The doctor’s conduct is considered negligent when it deviates from the accepted standard of care.
Can you file for optometry malpractice in Washington, D.C.?
The short answer is “maybe.” You can certainly file a claim or a lawsuit (depending on what you and your attorney decide is best for you) against a D.C. optometrist or ophthalmologist, provided there is evidence that your injury was caused by the doctor’s negligent acts. You could also request damages for economic damages, like medical costs and assistive technologies, and for non-economic damages, like loss of consortium or pain and suffering.
These laws protect patients from doctors like the one in this unfortunate case who used a far too aggressive treatment which led to the patient losing her eyesight. If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of a medical mistake, you should seek the counsel of a medical malpractice attorney.