In an article posted on June 8, 2020 entitled “Malpractice Litigation in Vitreoretinal Surgery and Medical Retina” that was designed to report and analyze the causes and outcomes of vitreoretinal surgery and medical retina malpractice litigation concluded: “The complexity of treating vitreoretinal problems and the high potential for vision loss inherent in many diagnoses make treating retinal problems high-risk. Many cases in this series resulted in multi-million-dollar plaintiff awards.”
The authors of the study reviewed the WestLaw database for all vitreoretinal malpractice litigation in the United States between 1930 and 2014. The authors reported: “One hundred forty-two retina cases were included. Overall, 64.1% of cases were resolved in favor of defendants. Eighty-three (58.5%) cases were resolved via jury trial, 30.1% of which were associated with plaintiff verdicts with mean adjusted jury award of $5,222,894 (median, $691,974). Eight cases (5.6%) resulted in settlements with mean adjusted indemnity of $726,003 (median: $437,165). Jury awards were higher than settlement awards (P = .04). Commonly litigated scenarios included retinal detachment (46.5%) and retinopathy of prematurity (9.2%).”
The American Society of Retinal Specialists states on its website: “Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure undertaken by a specialist where the vitreous humor gel that fills the eye cavity is removed to provide better access to the retina. This allows for a variety of repairs, including the removal of scar tissue, laser repair of retinal detachments and treatment of macular holes. Once surgery is complete, saline, a gas bubble or silicone oil may be injected into the vitreous gel to help hold the retina in position.”
“Most vitrectomy surgery is performed to address abnormal pulling (traction) by the vitreous on the retina. Vitreoretinal traction is a common causative finding associated with aging, nearsightedness, severe diabetes, severely premature infants, head or eye trauma, following YAG laser capsulotomy, and after complex anterior segment surgery.”
“These conditions may result in: Retinal hole or tear; Retinal detachment; Giant retinal tear; Epiretinal membrane; Macular hole; Vitreomacular traction; Macular edema; Traction retinal detachment; Proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Treatment consists of vitrectomy to remove vitreous opacities (clouding), separation of the vitreous from the retina, membrane peeling to remove retinal traction, and placement of a gas bubble or laser as needed to prevent recurrence. Removing membranes or scar tissue from the surface of the retina is delicate and exacting work, requiring many techniques in addition to vitrectomy.”
“There are 5 major reasons to perform vitrectomy, or a vitrectomy plus other procedures: 1. Vision-blocking vireous opacity (clouding); 2. Conditions caused by abnormal pulling on the retina; 3. Conditions needing retinal or other eye surgery; 4. To diagnose a vitreoretinal condition (diagnostic vitrectomy); 5. When placing a therapeutic device or drug delivery.”
The American Society of Retinal Specialists reports that “Severe complications are rare and anatomic success for vitrectomy is over 90% for many conditions. Advances in instrumentation, techniques, and understanding of diseases of the vitreous and retina have made vitrectomy and retina surgery more successful.”
If you or a family member suffered serious injury or other harm that may be due to ophthalmologist malpractice in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your ophthalmology medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in an ophthalmologist medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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