Ophthalmology

Failure to Remove Temporary Stitches Caused Infection
$30,000 Michigan Settlement Plus Medical Expenses

A middle-aged Michigan man underwent successful surgery at a large university hospital to correct a drooping eyelid (ptosis). The temporary stitches placed post-op were not recorded. During a follow-up visit puffiness around the plaintiff's eye obscured the temporary stitches. Since they were not recorded the doctors failed to remove them. Within a few months the plaintiff developed infections of his eye as well as swelling and partial loss of vision. His family practitioner ultimately discovered the stitches. The university hospital denied negligence and claimed the sutures were in fact permanent sutures that became dislodged. medQuest provided a professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern University Medical Center who reviewed the medical records and showed where the defendants had failed to record the number of temporary sutures. He also established the connection between the presence of the sutures and the infection and resulting problems. Because the plaintiff had suffered no permanent damage he requested only that his medical bills be forgiven and that he receive $1,000 in compensation for time missed from work. After receiving the expert's report, however, his attorneys were able to negotiate the forgiveness of medical bills and a $30,000 settlement from the university hospital.

Attorneys for the Plaintiff:
Bradley J. Shafer, Andrew K. Wilkins
Shafer & Associates, P.C.
Lansing, MI


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