Case Archive
Emergency Medicine, Ophthalmology

Failure to Diagnose Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma
$500,000 Jury Verdict

The plaintiff, a 50-year-old woman, went to an urgent care facility complaining of severe right frontal headache, injected conjunctiva and acute sensitivity to light. The urgent care physician attempted to measure the pressure in the plaintiff's eyes with her fingers rather than with a readily available instrument. She reached the conclusion "the pressure was OK." The diagnosis was headache. Upon the plaintiff's return home her headache became debilitating and she rapidly lost visual acuity. Two days after her visit to the urgent care facility she was almost blind. Her internist immediately diagnosed an ocular emergency and referred her to an ophthalmologist who diagnosed acute angle closure glaucoma, a sudden and very serious rise in pressure in the eye. After corrective surgeries the plaintiff was left with the loss of the lower 40% of vision in her left eye. Both pupils were fixed at 50% larger than normal and there was evidence of cataract formation. The plaintiff had $11,000 in past medical expenses and a projected further $11,000 in medical expenses. -. provided an emergency medicine expert who testified that it was below the standard of care for the urgent care physician to attempt to measure the intraocular pressure with her fingers. Prior to trial the defendant offered $75,000 in settlement, which was rejected. The jury returned a verdict of $500,000.

Attorney for the plaintiff:
Carl M. Hebert, Esq.
Reno, NV

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