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Doctor: Surgery saved patient’s vision, outweighed risks
eye; eye-cataract; sensory/speech-blindness, one eye;
sensory/speech-vision, partial loss of
Medical Malpractice – Eye Surgery, Ophthalmologist, Informed Consent, Failure to Monitor, Post-Operative Care, Unnecessary Procedure
Johnnie Washington v. Albany Medical Center Hospital, Monica F. Giganti, M.D. & Retina Consultants,
October 30, 2017
Johnnie Washington (Male, 60s)
Crystal J. Burden;
Law Office of Crystal J. Burden, PC;
Monica F. Giganti,
Albany Medical Center,
Retina Consultants PLLC
Kevin M. Loftus;
O’Connor McGuinness Conte Doyle Oleson Watson & Loftus, LLP;
Monica F. Giganti, Retina Consultants PLLC ■ Adam T. Mandell;
Maynard, O’Connor, Smith & Catalinotto LLP;
Albany Medical Center
Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. for Giganti and Retina Consultants
On Aug. 25, 2011, plaintiff Johnnie Washington, an unemployed man in his 60s, underwent surgery that was intended to involve removal of a cataract that was impairing his right eye’s vision. The surgeon removed most of the cataract, but Washington suffered a seizure that necessitated postponement of the remainder of the surgery. The surgeon subsequently removed the remaining portion of the cataract, but the eye’s lens could not be replaced. Washington suffers a residual loss of his right eye’s vision. Washington claimed that the cataract’s removal was necessitated by a residual effect of a surgery that had been performed on Jan. 12, 2010. That surgery involved repair of a macular hole, which is a hole that is located in the center of the retina. The surgery was performed by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Monica Giganti, at Albany Medical Center, in Albany. The surgery was properly performed, but it accelerated the growth of Washington’s cataract. Washington claimed that the residual effect contraindicated performance of the surgery. Washington sued Giganti, Albany Medical Center and Giganti’s practice, Retina Consultants PLLC. The lawsuit alleged that Giganti should not have attempted surgical repair of Washington’s right eye, that Giganti failed to render proper postsurgical care, that Giganti’s actions constituted malpractice, that Giganti failed to obtain informed consent to the surgery, and that the remaining defendants were vicariously liable for Giganti’s actions. Albany Medical Center was dismissed. The matter proceeded to a trial against the remaining defendants. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Giganti’s surgery accelerated the growth of Washington’s cataract, that the surgery’s known residual effects include that outcome, and that Giganti should have determined that the surgery’s potential residual effects outweighed its benefit. Washington claimed that Giganti had not disclosed that the surgery could have promoted growth of his cataract. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel argued that Giganti had not obtained informed consent to the surgery. Plaintiff’s counsel also claimed that Giganti’s surgery did not close Washington’s macular hole, and he argued that the hole’s presence prevented replacement of the eye’s lens. Giganti had warned that the hole’s closure would be promoted by Washington’s regular maintenance of a face-down posture. Washington claimed that his medical records documented injuries that prevented his prolonged maintenance of such a posture, but that Giganti did not review the records. Plaintiff’s counsel also contended that Giganti failed to properly evaluate the postsurgical progress of Washington’s cataract. Defense counsel claimed that three follow-up evaluations were performed during the three months that followed the surgery. He further claimed that Washington was referred to a facility that could have provided specialized evaluation of the cataract, but that Washington did not promptly seek the evaluation. Defense counsel also claimed that Giganti’s surgery was an appropriate, necessary, successful procedure. He contended that the surgery closed the macular hole, and he also contended that the hole would have inevitably caused partial blindness. Giganti claimed that she had explained the surgery’s associated risks, and she also claimed that Washington stated that he could maintain a face-down posture.
Washington’s right eye’s lens has not been replaced, and Washington suffers a resultant loss of his right eye’s vision. He claimed that he has pursued replacement of the lens, but that doctors will not perform the procedure. Washington sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Washington can undergo replacement of his right eye’s lens.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
Roger D. McDonough
5-1 (Giganti reviewed Washington’s medical records); 6-0 (all other questions)
Plaintiff’s counsel has moved for a new trial.
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.