Peoria eye clinic named in St. Clair County med mal complaint

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 9, 2011

A woman claims she lost vision in her right eye after undergoing a surgery that was supposed to correct her eyesight.

Maria M. Duebbert filed a lawsuit Jan. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Drs. Dennis Lockhart, Robert Lee, Ken Barba, Joseph Harman, Ara Aprahamian, Tysen Herrmann and Gailey Eye Clinic of Peoria.

Duebbert claims she became a patient at Gailey Eye Clinic on Jan. 8, 2009, when Lockhart performed advanced surface ablation, a vision correction procedure intended to remove tissue from the eye to improve eyesight.

When Lockhart performed the surgery, he worked on both Duebbert's right and left eyes at the same time while allegedly in a non-sterile environment -- a potentially hazardous combination as the procedure is best performed on one eye at a time to protect against complications, according to the complaint.

Duebbert returned to Gailey Eye Clinic following the surgery, complaining of problems with her right eye, the suit states.
Lockhart and other post-surgery doctors dismissed Duebbert's complaints and failed to provide testing or medications to treat her painful eye, the complaint says.

"After performing advanced surface ablation surgery on plaintiff, (the doctors) incorrectly and continuously informed plaintiff that the 'cells' in her right eye were 'quiet' and that she had no reason to worry about the condition of her right eye," the suit states.

Because of the doctors' refusal to treat her eye, Duebbert's eye infection became substantially worse, causing her to lose vision in her right eye and to suffer from a significant degradation of vision in her left eye, she claims.

In addition, as a result of the prolonged infection, Duebbert suffered mental and physical pain and disabilities, lost money and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

In her complaint, Duebbert alleges negligence against the doctors, who performed the surgery and provided post-surgical treatment, the suit states.

In her 10-count complaint, Duebbert seeks a judgment of more than $350,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Ronald R. Duebbert of The Duebbert Law Office in Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-13.

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