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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – BLINDNESS ATTRIBUTED TO STEROID THERAPY

Publication: Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter Published: 4/24/1998

Patricia O’Brien v Dr. Neil Ross, Dr. Lynn Hauser, Dr. Jacob Wilensky 94L-3316 (formerly 86L-2911) Tried Jan. 14-29, 1998

Verdict: $700,000: v Dr. Wilensky; Not Guilty v Dr. Ross and Dr. Hauser
Judge: Michael J. Kelly (IL Cook-Law)
Pltf Any(s): Dean James Caras of Dean Caras & Associates DEMAND: none ASKED: $3,000,000
Deft Atty(s): John N. Seibel of Cassiday, Schade & Gloor for Ross, Hauser (ISMIS) OFFER: none; Donald J. Brown, Jr. of Donohue, Brown, Mathewson & Smyth for Wilensky

Deft Medl: Dr. Howard Tessler (Ophthalmologist), Dr. Steven Koenig (Ophthalmologist), Dr. Douglas H. Johnson (Ophthalmologist) and Dr. Joseph Kiernan (Ophthalmologist) for Ross
PltfExpert(s): Dr. Charles Aronberg (Ophthalmologist)
Deft Expert(s): Dr. Willieam E. Deutsch (Ophthalmologist) and Dr. Kenneth Palonsky of University of Chicago Hospital, 5841 S. Maryland, Room 268, MC 1027, Chicago (713-702-6217) (Endocrinologist) for Ross, Hauser; Dr. Walter Stark of Wilmer Eye Institute, 600 N. Wolfe St., #327, Baltimore, MD (410-955-5490) (Ophthalmologist) for Wilensky

Sept. 18, 1983, pltf F-41 presented to emergency room at Kishwaukee Community Hospital with vision difficulty and significant increased intraocular pressure. Ophthalmologists Ross and Hauser treated her through Feb. 1984,prescribing various topical, injectable and systemic steroids for her ocular problems along with anti-glaucomamedications. Steroids were also prescribed by ophthalmologist Wilensky, who treated pltf at the University ofIllinois in Chicago from Sept 30, 1983, to Feb. 1, 1984. Pltf contended that defts failed to timely diagnose herpessimplex Viral infection in right eye which remained undetected until Dec. 1983, failed to obtain adequate informedconsent concerning use of steroids, negligently prescribed steroids which were contraindicated, and failed toprescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, resulting in blindness in right eye. Pltf further claimed thatdiabetes diagnosed in 1988 and loss of sight in left eye from a cataract a few years later were also related to thesteroids. Defense contended that informed consent was obtained, steroids were necessary, steroid use was withinstandard of care, and steroids did not cause cataract or diabetes.