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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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$600,000 settlement – improper treatment of eye infection

Eye infections are common ailments.  Most of the time they can be treated without any serious consequence…unless the health care provider doesn’t provide proper treatment for the infection.  It’s essential to treat eye infections quickly, since these infections can become very, very dangerous if not treated promptly.

This is particularly true when the infection is not bacterial.  There are several types of eye infections, including: bacterial (where the infection is caused by a bacteria that attacks the tissues) and fungal (when it is a fungus causing the infection). If a doctor simply assumes an eye infection is caused by a bacteria and administers an antibiotic drop, they may be completely missing the cause of the infection.

Proper treatment includes a culture to determine whether it is bacterial, fungal or viral in nature, and a broad spectrum series of eye drops to treat each of the types of infection until the culture shows the true cause.  The reason this is so critical is that in the first hours or days of an infection, it can become much worse very quickly.  This is particularly true if the patient is receiving the wrong medication.  And if the patient is in pain, and receives medication for the pain, they may not realize that the infection is not only not improving, but instead getting progressively worse.

Our client was a 65 year-old woman who had developed an eye infection.  She went to her eye doctor who referred her to a specialist.  The specialist began treating her as if she had a bacterial infection.  He did not culture the infection to determine the cause.  In fact, she had a fungal infection, and the bacterial infection antibiotics actually allowed the infection to get worse faster.  The improper medication actually gave a false sense of security to the patient.  By the time she was correctly diagnosed, she had lost much of the vision in one eye.

The client came to Leighton Law’s John Leighton, who filed suit and discovered that the specialist failed to obtain culture before assuming it was a bacterial infection.  We obtained a confidential $600,000 settlement on behalf of our client.

 

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