In a confidential arbitration and settlement, Mr. Doe, age 64, suffered severe injuries in a car accident. Doe was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed as having angle closure glaucoma, a condition in which the iris bulges forward to block the eye’s drainage system. Mr. Doe was given drops, a topical steroid, and an antibiotic. For several days, the doctors continued to watch Mr. Doe determining that he was not yet a candidate for eye surgery due to his weakened physical condition caused by the car accident.
About 2 ½ weeks after the car crash, Mr. Doe was discharged with instructions to follow up with an eye clinic in two weeks. However, Mr. Doe’s vision deteriorated, and he was later taken to a hospital emergency room. At that hospital he underwent emergency bilateral iridotomies. A laser iridotomy uses a focused beam of light making a hole on the outer edge or rim of the iris. The opening allows fluid to flow between the front part of the eye and the area behind the iris. The iridotomy is also the procedure used in angle closure glaucoma patients. Despite this intervention, Mr. Doe now has a lack of light perception in his left eye and only the ability to count fingers at four feet in his right eye.
Mr. Doe brought this lawsuit against the ophthalmologist who supervised his care at the hospital claiming the doctor chose not to properly treat the angle closure glaucoma by, among other things, ordering frequent checks of his intraocular pressures, performing timely laser iridotomies, examining him in the days before his discharge from the hospital and arranging for immediate follow-up care. Mr. Doe did not claim any lost income. At an arbitration, Mr. Doe received an award of $3 million for his damages. The attorney representing Mr. Doe was Kevin Donius.