Israeli woman sues hospital after doctors blind her, lie about it

Following the surgery, doctors called the patient back to come in for several visits in which they presented her with a false impression that her vision might still improve.

Eyesight (illustrative) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Eyesight (illustrative)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A 68-year-old resident of Ramat Gan filed a medical malpractice lawsuit for NIS 2.5 million in recent days against Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital, in which she alleges that doctors caused her to lose vision in her left eye while also giving her false hopes that she would still be able to see again.
According to the lawsuit, for seven consecutive months, the doctors at Assuta hid from the patient that they were the ones who caused her to lose vision in her left eye.
The woman, who suffered from a decrease in her vision in both eyes, was referred for retinal and cataract surgery in her left eye. According to the lawsuit filed by her lawyer, Moran Avrahami Yom Tov, the patient underwent her first operation, which was unsuccessful, and after several reviews, doctors decided to perform corrective surgery on her eyes.
During the second operation, a certain gas was injected into the patient's eyes which, according to the lawsuit, caused her to completely lose vision in her left eye, apparently as a result of irreversible damage to the optic nerve.
Following the surgery however, doctors called the patient back to come in for several visits in which, according to the prosecution, they presented her with a false impression that her vision might still improve.
Five months after the operation, the 68-year-old sought the advice of another specialist from her health fund, who examined her eyes and found that the pupil did not respond to light at all.
"Nevertheless, this specialist also decided to leave the patient in the dark, literally, when it came to her eye condition and the future of her sense of sight," said Avrahami Yom Tov.
It was only after seven full months had passed since the second surgery, and after being examined by a third specialist, that she was told that her optic nerve was, in fact, "dead" and that she had actually lost her vision in her left eye.
Attached to the lawsuit was the medical opinion of ophthalmologist Prof. Yitzhak Ben Sira, who stated that the entries in the reports which were submitted by Assuta were "extremely lacking."
According to him, the report describes various events that could not possibly explain the observably complete and irreversible loss of sight.
He also added that the damage to the patient's eye could have been caused only by either a sudden and significant injury, an incorrect move during surgery or massive pressure being exerted on the eye. According to Prof. Ben Sira, the massive pressure could have been caused as a result of the use of the gas.
The lawsuit stated that the woman has since suffered from poor mood and increased anxiety, decreased desire and energy, impaired self-confidence, frustration and despair, and has begun receiving antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
Subsequently, a psychiatrist determined that the woman currently suffers from a 25% mental disability rate, according to the regulations of the National Insurance Institute.
A lawsuit has recently been filed in the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court for medical malpractice, up to the maximum amount given (NIS 2.5 million). In a response from Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, it was stated: "Our response will be given in court."
Idan Zonshine translated this article.