RRD Partner Dan Ryan Wins Defense Verdict for Eye Surgeon

November 15, 2012

Partner Dan Ryan received a defense verdict on behalf of his client, an anterior segment eye surgeon, in a case in which the plaintiff's demand was in excess of $1 million. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant physician fraudulently diagnosed Iris Bombe and performed unnecessary YAG laser surgery for relief of elevated intraocular pressures. The plaintiff further claimed that the defendant surgeon fraudulently diagnosed her with cataracts, performed unnecessary cataract surgery and inserted an inappropriate intraocular lens. As a result, the patient allegedly required a second surgery for removal of the lens and ultimately developed a retinal detachment in her right eye, leaving her with permanent vision problems.

According to the plaintiff, the doctor never told her that she had cataracts and the surgery she agreed to was for the insertion of “permanent contact lens” so as to be free from glasses. At the time the claim was initially made, the “scribe” who authored all of the defendant's medical records was no longer in his employ and could not be identified. Given the factual dispute in the case as to the nature and purpose of the surgery, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant’s medical records were re-written after the claim was made in order to justify unnecessary procedures. To defend against this claim, the defense hired an independent auditor to review the defendant's practice and presented evidence that the frequency with which he performed the surgeries in question were within industry norms.

The pretrial settlement demand by the plaintiff was in excess of $1 million; the defense did not make any offers.