New Jersey Women Awarded Damages For Botched Eye Surgery

On behalf of Albert Buzzetti & Associates, L.L.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

Marilyn Leisz had cosmetic surgery on her eyelids, hoping for relief from the drooping of her eyelids that made her look perpetually tired. She chose a surgeon that appeared qualified, with 25 years of experience, board certification and who had performed 10,000 surgeries. Today, she cannot fully close her eyelids and relies in steroid drops and creams to lubricate her eyes.

ABC News reports that after suing her New Jersey plastic surgeon, a jury awarded Leisz $115,000, an amount Leisz called "a joke." During the trial, Leisz presented testimony of a physician who said she was not a good candidate for another eye procedure because of her prior surgeries and the possible lack of skin around the eye. Dr. John Millard, stated in the ABC News story. "It is a risk of the blepharoplasty procedure commonly covered in the consent, assuming the doctor used a standard consent."

All surgery carries a risk. Before any surgery, a doctor is required to counsel a patient as to the risks inherent in the procedure. Leisz claims the risks were inadequately disclosed and she suffered personal injury as a result.

Informed Consent, a Pre-surgery Requirement

New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions, informed consent is "a negligence concept predicated on the duty of a physician to disclose to a patient information that will enable him to 'evaluate knowledgeably the options available and the risks attendant upon each' before subjecting that patient to a course of treatment."

To establish a case for medical negligence due to lack of informed consent, a plaintiff must show:

  • The physician failed to comply with the reasonably-prudent-patient standard for disclosure
  • The undisclosed risk occurred and harmed the plaintiff
  • A reasonable person under the circumstances would not have consented and submitted to the operation or surgical procedure had he or she been so informed
  • The operation or surgical procedure was a proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries

Courts have said, "choosing among medically reasonable treatment alternatives is a shared responsibility of physicians and patients," and physicians "have a duty to evaluate the relevant information and disclose all courses of treatment that are medically reasonable under the circumstances."

If you have suffered a bad out come from a medical procedure and feel the doctor failed to adequately inform you of the possible consequences of the procedure, you should speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your case and help you determine the best legal option based on your circumstances.