Post-Operative Vision Loss
Post-operative vision loss is an unusual complication of surgery, but it does happen and it can be permanent. It is more common for this complication to occur, if it occurs at all, after certain orthopedic, head and neck, spine and cardiac surgeries. Permanent post-operative vision loss can arise from cerebral vision loss, ischemic optic neuropathy, and central retinal artery occlusion. If you have experienced post-operative vision loss, you should consult the Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.Post-Operative Vision Loss
Sometimes, anesthesia may mask the initial signs of post-operative vision loss. In some cases, post-operative vision loss is the result of a preventable error. For example, a surgical team’s failure to monitor a patient for lack of blood flow could result in ischemic optic neuropathy, a form of optic nerve damage, which can lead to partial or complete blindness. Usually, the vision loss is permanent. If your post-operative vision loss resulted from a preventable error, you may be able to recover compensatory damages by establishing your health care provider’s liability.Establishing Liability in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
To establish liability for post-operative vision loss, you need to show: (1) the health care provider owed you a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) the breach actually and proximately caused your injuries, and (4) damages. A plaintiff must prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning enough evidence to show that they’re more likely than not to be true.
New York follows the locality rule, which means that the professional standard of care in your case will be determined by looking at what other competent health care providers in the same specialty and the same geographic area would have done under the same or similar circumstances. In other words, if your surgeon’s conduct during a cardiac surgery in Syracuse led to post-operative vision loss, whether his conduct fell within the standard of care will be judged according to what other competent surgeons in or around Syracuse would have done during a similar cardiac surgery.Certificate of Merit
To pursue damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney will retain an expert to review your medical records along with the facts. Often the expert is a physician licensed to practice medicine and board-certified in the same specialty. If your attorney believes that your surgeon has been negligent during the surgery, they will likely consult a board-certified surgeon to determine whether your case has a reasonable basis. This is mandatory in medical malpractice cases because a certificate of merit must be filed along with a medical malpractice complaint under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3012-a.Compensatory Damages
Plaintiffs who can establish liability may be able to recover compensatory damages. These are economic and noneconomic damages meant to put you back in the place you would have been had you not been harmed by medical malpractice. Economic losses may include amounts for medical bills, further surgery, vocational rehabilitation, and lost wages. You may also require compensation to mitigate the changes to your life wrought by blindness, such as by purchasing special assistive technology like a screen reader, video magnifier or braille watch. Noneconomic losses are intangible; a jury awards them based on what noneconomic losses it believes would reasonably flow from your harm. They may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment.Consult a Dedicated Medical Malpractice Attorney
Post-operative vision loss will change your life dramatically, particularly if the vision loss is permanent. If you suffered harm as a result of post-operative vision loss in Syracuse, you should discuss your potential lawsuit with a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate whether you have a viable claim. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents surgical patients in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Oneida, Oswego, Binghamton, Lyons, Lowville, Watertown, Herkimer, Utica, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Wampsville, Elmira, Auburn, and Canandaigua. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.