Blindness After Surgery

Article posted on:03/10/2008

A New Hampshire jury has awarded $1.75 million to a man who became blind after undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg. According to the lawsuit, the doctor failed to give the man blood to stabilize his condition following a car accident, causing nerve damage that blinded the man. Two other doctors who participated in the surgery were not found liable for the man's injuries.  Based upon the summary provided in the report, it was unclear as to what exactly caused the blindness. 

The onset of blindness following surgery is, unfortunately, well documented.  Two particular causes are well known.  In the first circumstances, some patients experience a precipitous drop in their blood pressure while under anesthesia.  This sudden drop in blood pressure, in turn, results in the deprivation of oxygen carrying red blood cells to the brain and the optic nerve (the nerve the connects the eye to the brain).  If the deprivation of these oxygen carrying red blood cells persists for an extended period of time, cells within the nerves can die, resulting in blindness.  In the second circumstance, a patient who is undergoing surgery may develop blindness if a piece of a blood clot, located elsewhere in the body, breaks off and travels toward the brain, lodging in a blood vessel that supplies the optic nerve.  In such instances, the blood flow to the brain is interrupted and cell / nerve death can occur, causing blindness.  In many instances, the clot can be identified on post-surgical imaging such as an MRI or CT scan with contrast of the brain.  At STSW, our office has been involved in a similar case in which it was determined that the precipitous drop in blood pressure was the single cause of the subject blindness, a conclusion that could only be drawn after viewing the patient's intraoperative blood pressure recordings that were made by the anesthesiologist. 

If you or a loved one believe that you have been the victim surgical negligence resulting in blindness, call the lawyers at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White for a free consultation or visit our website for a free consultation.  Our attorneys regularly handle these types of cases on a contingency basis, meaning that our firm lays out the expenses in advance and our clients are only required to reimburse us if the case is successful via a settlement or at trial or on appeal.  Our office routinely handles cases and matters in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas against physicians and hospitals including Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, St. Joseph's Hospital, Union Memorial Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Anne Arundel County Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, and Washington Adventist Hospital.   In fact, we regularly obtain million dollar plus settlements and verdicts for our clients in medical malpractice cases, and have been trial counsel in some of the largest multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in the area.