According to the National Eye Institute of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of the most successful and safest surgical procedures is cataract surgery. It says that most Americans, including some in Houston Texas, have cataracts by the age of 80. Many have undergone successful surgery to remove cataracts. A recent report about lawsuits alleging anesthesia error shows that, unfortunately, not all these procedures are carried out without problems.
On May 20, 2014, 45 patients were seen by a doctor at a cataract and laser center in another state. Five of the people who had corrective vision surgery on that day had a subsequent loss of vision. Two of those who were blinded after the procedures reported that they experienced pain when the anesthesiologist administered the injection to numb the eye.
These patients reported that the surgery lasted only 15 minutes, but, when their eye patches were removed afterward, the eyes on which the procedures were done saw only blackness. They were totally blinded. The doctor apparently told one patient that it was caused by inflammation, but upon examination, they saw blood in his eye. He was rushed to a medical center to have his punctured retina repaired under surgery.
One of the patients reported receiving a letter from the medical director of the cataract and laser center stating that the injuries could have been caused by an incorrect technique used by the anesthesiologist when the pre-surgery medication was administered. The anesthesiologist is reportedly prohibited from doing the procedure that is believed to have caused blindness in five patients while the Board of Registration in Medicine is investigating him. These five victims of anesthesia error are pursuing recovery of damages through the courts, and Texas victims of similar errors may do the same through the state’s civil justice system.
Source: masslive.com, “Five blinded after cataract surgery performed at West Springfield clinic: ‘Everything went black”, Michelle Williams, Aug. 23, 2016