Retinal detachment behind many opthalmic malpractice claims

October 8, 2020 | Crandall & Pera Law
Retinal detachment behind many opthalmic malpractice claims

Many malpractice claims involve the misdiagnosis of ophthalmic conditions, but for the most part, they are not the rare ones but rather the more relatively common ones. Many ophthalmologists are misdiagnosing retinal detachment in particular. Perhaps you had this condition missed or mistaken for something else here in Cincinnati, Ohio. You yourself may be able to file a malpractice claim.

What one OMIC study revealed

The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company conducted a study on 1,613 ophthalmic malpractice claims that were closed or resolved between 2008 and 2014. Of the 223 that involved an alleged diagnostic error, 84 concerned the retina with 65 specifically involving retinal detachment. That's 29% of all diagnosis-related claims. No other opthalmic condition was so frequently misdiagnosed.

Reasons for the mistakes

Most surprising is how 85% of retinal detachment patients whose claim was analyzed by the OMIC presented risk factors that are specific to RD. These risk factors include myopia, a thinning of the retina and a condition called posterior vitreous detachment, where the vitreous gel in the eye begins to detach from the retina. Those who suffer a blunt injury to the eye or undergo cataract surgery also run a higher risk for RD. Why are ophthalmologists missing RD, then, even when clear risk factors are present? One major factor is distraction during the diagnostic process. Ophthalmologists may be on their phone taking calls and answering text messages, and things can fall through the cracks, so to speak, when so many interruptions press upon them. A proper RD diagnosis is usually due to the efforts of a coordinated, well-run team. Without teamwork, errors arise.

A lawyer to evaluate your case

Perhaps your diagnosis can form the basis for a case under medical malpractice law. You may want a lawyer to perform an evaluation before anything else. The lawyer may have third parties conduct an independent investigation of the matter, too, if your case is a valid one. You could have the lawyer negotiate on your behalf once the case is ready, and if you cannot achieve a fair settlement, you could consider litigation.