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Q&A: Medical Malpractice

I had cataract surgery recently but experienced severe pain nine days later. My doctor told me the pain was caused by a tear in my retina and that I needed another surgery. Was I the victim of medical malpractice?

A: Retinal tears are a known complication of cataract surgery. So in short, not likely. Even the best eye surgeons have patients who experience retinal tears. Unless your medical records reflect a clear act of negligence, your case will be very difficult to prove at trial.

When the defense lawyer questions your medical expert witness, the defense will be able to ask the expert whether they themselves have had patients who have experienced retinal tears. Since the complication is so common, the expert will likely answer yes. Then the defense will ask if the tear was a result of negligence to which the expert will most assuredly answer no.

At that point, the defense will conclude with “since retinal tears occur in surgeries involving no negligence, you can’t prove that negligence was the cause of this tear, can you?” And that is the end of your case.


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