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Surgeon mistakenly operates on 4-year-old boy's wrong eye

One of the most dangerous types of medical malpractice we see in New York occurs when a surgeon operates on the wrong location of a patient's body. This can harm healthy tissue, while not addressing the problems in the area of the body that needed the surgery in the first place.

Recently, a 4-year-old boy went into surgery to have a corrective procedure done on his right eye. He had a condition known as a wandering eye. The surgery was meant to weaken the muscle at the bottom of the wandering eye, because the strength of that muscle was pulling on the eye, which caused it to wander. During the surgery, the surgeon apparently first performed the surgery on the boy's good eye. Then, without consulting with the boy's parents operated on the correct eye.

After the surgery, the surgeon told the boy's parents that she had lost direction in the surgery because a nurse had covered the mark she had made on the eye that needed the corrective surgery.

Since the surgery, his parents have reported that his left eye, which was his good eye, now appears to be wandering while the right eye, which was the wandering eye, still does not appear to function properly.

Since the surgical error, the family has visited a second doctor to see if any permanent damage was done. However, that doctor told them they would need to wait as much as 5 weeks for his eyes to heal. Then, they will be able to determine if there has been any permanent damage to the boy's eyes.

The boy's parents do not believe the surgeon is a bad person. However, they want to spread the word about this incident in the hope that this type of medical injury does not happen to another child.

Source: ABC News, "Medical Mistake: Surgeon Operates on the Wrong Eye of a 4-Year-Old Boy," Michael Murray, 4/19/2011

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