Cataracts surgery resulted in blindness, suit claims

Andrea Dearden Oct. 11, 2012, 4:33am


A Collinsville man says he was made blind by his eye doctor after surgery for cataracts.

John and Lucille Beil filed a lawsuit Sept. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Dr. Michael P. Jones and Eyecare Management LLC, doing business as Illinois Eye Specialists and Illinois Eye Surgeons. JFJ Eyecare Ltd., doing business as The Eye Clinic. Klingele, Jones & Associates Ltd. and Eye Surgery Center Ltd. are also named as defendants.

John Beil claims he was examined in Feburary by Dr. Mark Yates, an optometrist, at Illinois Eye Surgeons Maryville location, according to the complaint. Beil says he was referred to Dr. Jones who determined he had cataracts and was a candidate for corrective surgical implants in both eyes. Beil claims Dr. Jones told him he could expect improved vision almost immediately after the surgery.

Beil says he went to the Swansea Illinois Eye Surgeons office for surgery to his left eye on May 7, with a second surgery scheduled for his right eye nine days later. A day after his first surgery Beil says he went into the defendant's Glen Carbon facility for a post-op visit and was told by Dr. Jones that everything looked good.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology a reasonable time between eye surgeries is necessary to determine the refractive error of the first eye in order to select an appropriate implant power for the second eye, the complaint states. The need for sufficient time also allows for treatment of any early post-op complications, such as endophthalmitis, according to the AAO.

Beil says three days before his second surgery was scheduled, he began to experience problems with his vision in his left eye. When he reported to the Swansea facility for his second surgery on May 16, Beil claims he told the medical staff about those problems. The patient says Dr. Jones went ahead with the second surgery on the right eye anyway.

A day later Beil went back to the Swansea office for a follow-up exam and was there again a week later for a another post-op visit. Beil says he reported to Dr. Yates that he was experiencing decreased vision in his left eye. Dr. Yates allegedly diagnosed him with central retinal vein occlusion in the left eye, meaning he was losing light perception and moving toward total blindness. Four days later Beil says he was diagnosed with the same condition in his right eye by Dr. Jones. Beil says a second opinion informed him he was at a risk of venous thrombosis, had little to no chance of his vision returning and was considered legally blind in both eyes.

The Beils accuse Dr. Thomas and the other defendants of failing to recognize the complications from the surgery to his left eye before performing the second surgery. They ask for more than $200,000 in damages,and court costs, for negligence and loss of consortium.

The Beils are represented by attorney Eric J. Carlson of Edwardsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-490

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