Adults and children throughout Illinois suffer from total or partial blindness which can be traced to medical malpractice. The medical mistakes that can lead to vision loss among patients include missed or delayed diagnoses, surgical errors, and the failure to properly monitor high-risk patients for eye disease such as prematurely born infants. Additionally, many patients suffer from blindness due to bacterial infections that are caused by exposure to unwashed hands or unsterilized medical equipment.
Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. realize how blindness can be physically, emotionally and financially damaging for victims and their families. If a medical error caused you or your loved one to suffer blindness, we want to help.
Over the course of four decades, we have secured more than $1.5 billion in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. We know how to identify the medical errors that lead to injuries such as blindness, and we know how to pursue the justice and compensation that victims deserve. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call or reach us online today through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan.
Diagnostic Errors and Blindness
Many patients suffer blindness due to a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose and treat the medical condition which serves as the underlying cause of the vision loss. In fact, the majority of medical malpractice claims in our country involve diagnostic errors, Diederich Healthcare reports in its 2018 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis. Often, the missed or delayed diagnosis results from the doctor’s failure to detect symptoms and order proper tests.
For instance, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older adults in our country. Yet, in a study published in 2017 in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers found that roughly 25 percent of AMD cases went undiagnosed by doctors in primary eye care clinics. As AARP notes, AMD is an incurable disease. Still, many forms of treatments are available to stem the disease’s progression – but only if doctors catch the condition and administer the treatment on time.
Cataracts and glaucoma are other examples of conditions that doctors such as optometrists and ophthalmologists may fail to diagnose because they miss symptoms or fail to order specialized tests. However, blindness can also result from a doctor’s failure to detect other types of conditions which can lead to vision loss such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Surgical Errors and Blindness
Many patients suffer vision loss due to trauma they experience during a surgical procedure. A doctor who operates on or near the eyes, for instance, may make a surgical error that damages the eye or optic nerves. These types of surgical errors frequently cause irreversible harm.
In other cases, a surgical team’s failure to monitor a patient for lack of blood flow can lead to damage to the optic nerves. This condition is known as ischemic optic neuropathy (ION). It can result in partial or complete blindness, and in most cases, the vision loss is permanent. In a study published in 2011 in The Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research, researchers found that this type of post-operative vision loss was most common among patients who underwent heart and spine surgery.
Birth Injuries, Pediatric Mistakes and Blindness
Boston Children’s Hospital reports that nearly half of the 28,000 babies who are born prematurely each year in the U.S. suffer from a condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). As the hospital describes, ROP occurs when a child is born before the blood vessels which feed the retina have fully developed. The disruption of their growth can cause abnormal vessels to form that may leak and cause scarring to the retina. In the worst cases, the retina may become detached.
The medical malpractice often lies in a doctor’s failure to adequately monitor a baby who faces a high risk of developing ROP. For example, the earlier a child is born – and, in turn, the lighter the child weighs – the more likely the child is to suffer from ROP. The condition can be treated, and it may regress. However, if a doctor fails to timely and properly diagnose the condition, the child may face permanent vision impairment.
Bacterial Infections and Blindness
Although it is rare, a patient may also develop a bacterial infection in the eye after undergoing treatment in a hospital or clinic. The infection can lead to blindness. In the most severe cases, the patient’s eye may need to be removed.
For example, endophthalmitis is a bacterial infection that affects the inside of the eyeball. The disease typically results from exposure to bacteria such as staphylococcus or streptococcal. Those forms of bacteria can be readily transmitted through exposure to another person’s skin, according to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.
So, in most cases, the disease could have been prevented by a medical professional simply taking the basic step of washing his or her hands or making sure to use only sterilized equipment in a procedure that could expose the interior of the eyeball to harmful bacteria. Sadly, even when treated with antibiotics and/or eye surgery, a patient with endophthalmitis may still suffer vision problems or eye loss.
How Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help You
With our extensive experience with handling medical malpractice claims, the attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. will know how to investigate your case, review your medical records, and determine whether the negligence of medical professionals caused you or your loved one to suffer blindness. We also will consult with highly knowledge experts in fields such as ophthalmology. An expert can examine the evidence in your case and help us to determine whether doctors or other medical professionals failed to meet the relevant standard of care, and whether that failure caused your vision loss.
Our preparation makes a difference for our clients. We will use that preparation as leverage when we pursue a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for your losses such as your medical bills, loss of income, pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. At the same time, we will be prepared to put on the strongest case possible in the courtroom.
Above all, you can count on the medical malpractice lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. to pay close attention to your needs throughout your case. We understand how devastating it can be for patients to suffer blindness due to medical malpractice. We also realize the burdens that blindness can place on family members. We will aggressively pursue a settlement or verdict that addresses the harm you have suffered through no fault of your own. We will also charge you no legal fees unless we secure a financial recovery for you.
It starts with a free consultation. Connect with us through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan and discuss your case with one of our highly skilled and compassionate medical malpractice attorneys today.