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A jury in Durham, North Carolina (NC) found an ophthalmologist and a hospital was negligent when they used the wrong drug during a cataract surgery. This led to severe damage in one of the patient’s eyes. He was awarded $1.5 million in the case.

The medical malpractice suit involved Jerry Medlin from Durham, and Timothy Young, M.D., and the North Carolina Specialty Hospital. Medlin had his left eye operated on in 2008 at the hospital.

Testimony stated that Young used a dye known as VisionBlue to color the cataract so it could be properly removed. However, the nurse brought the incorrect drug – methylene blue – which is highly toxic to eye tissue. She gave it to a surgical assistant, who gave it to the doctor.

The nurse stated in court that she said the name of the drug when she handed it to the assistant. Young said that he did not hear that. The assistant also stated that the nurse announced the name of the drug when she gave it to the doctor. Young then applied the toxic chemical to the man’s eye.

According to Medlin’s attorney, the chemical did severe damage to the patient’s eye. They did another surgery to attempt to correct the injury, and that failed. A corneal transplant was attempted, but the patient’s body rejected it.

Medlin currently is blind in his left eye and now has glaucoma as a result of the multiple surgeries. Fortunately, he has 20/20 vision in his right eye.

The final judgment in this case could total more than $2 million, once interest and costs are added in; the case has been going through several courts since 2011.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for jc

    This case is the exception, not the rule. The rule is that most medical malpractice suits that are filed are frivolous. Cases like the one filed against me when a typist made an error when she re-typed my accurate report and put her errant report on the hospital's new electronic medical system. I ended up getting sued for six years for that one before it was thrown out of court. In Ohio, we have seen a steady drop in medical malpractice cases because of tort reform. State insurance figures show that 80% of filed med mal cases were dropped with no payment.

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