$1.1 million verdict against an ophthalmologist

March 1, 2000

A 72 year old woman went to her ophthalmologist for treatment of cataracts. He chose to use a procedure for delivering local anesthesia that required inserting a needle next to the eye in order to place the anesthetic behind the eye. In the course of performing this outpatient procedure, he punctured the eye with the anesthesia needle resulting in blindness in that eye. The ophthalmologist denied that he caused the injury, and instead blamed the anesthesiologist who had also placed a needle near the eye. The jury determined that it was the ophthalmologist’s needle that caused the injury and that the anesthesia method he used was not acceptable under the circumstances of this particular procedure. They awarded damages of $1,150,000.