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November 2019: Defense Verdict in Complicated Laser Cataract Surgery Case

November 6, 2019

MCB Senior Trial Partner Thomas A. Mobilia, Esq. assisted by Partner Aryeh S. Klonsky, Esq. obtained a defense verdict for their clients, a renowned eye surgeon and his ophthalmology group. The case was tried in New York County Supreme Court during a 4-week trial before the Honorable Frank Nervo.

 

Plaintiff, a retired medical malpractice trial attorney, alleged that the defendant eye surgeon negligently recommended laser cataract surgery, failed to disclose the increased risks of cataract surgery and Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) secondary to long-term use of alpha-blockers for benign prostatic hyperplasia, and failed to take necessary preoperative and intraoperative preventative measures to prevent IFIS during cataract surgery.  Plaintiff claimed that the surgeon’s failure to take necessary preventative measures, including preoperative Atropine, and intraoperative Healon 5 viscoelastics, intracameral Epinephrine, and Iris Hooks, led to the development of IFIS and its symptomatology triad of sudden pupil constriction, billowing iris, and iris prolapse though the surgical incision. Plaintiff also alleged that iris injury and atrophy was due to manipulation of the iris with a cyclodialysis spatula in an effort to reposit the prolapsing iris, in addition to the phacoemulsification probe striking the iris.

 

Plaintiff claimed that as a result of the foregoing, he sustained permanent iris and pupillary deformity, blurry vision and glare, affecting his ability to read, use a computer, provide pro bono legal services for special needs children, walk without difficulty, and drive an automobile.

The defense successfully argued that the eye surgeon properly obtained plaintiff’s informed consent for the procedure, and that cataract surgery was indicated based on the cataract’s interference with plaintiff’s activities of daily living, as well as the development of anisometropia. Further, that the eye surgeon properly chose and took other IFIS preventative measures. The defense also successfully demonstrated to the jury that plaintiff’s vision was improved postoperatively, and that any alleged visual deficits were secondary to a pre-existing irregular astigmatism.

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