Eye Pressure Surgery Results in Blindness, Action Alleges
6-21-2019 04:01:00

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A glaucoma patient lost sight in his eye after his doctor convinced him to have surgery to alleviate pressure without providing disclosure of the possible side effects, according to an action filed in San Francisco County Superior Court.

Bing Gee Wong sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center and Xiaoyan Zhang, M.D., for medical malpractice, negligent hiring and retention, reckless infliction of emotional distress and lack of informed consent.

Plaintiff Wong, 76, was a patient of defendant Zhang for 10 years, receiving treatment for glaucoma in both eyes, the action alleges. Based on Zhang’s recommendation, Wong agreed to have surgery on his left eye to relieve the pressure, even though he “was able to see well in his left eye,” the suit states. Surgery on the right eye was to follow.

“Based on the discussion with defendant Zhang, plaintiff believed that the surgery was just a minor procedure to help him relieve pressure in his eyes,” the suit states.

The surgery was performed on June 1, 2018, according to the action. Plaintiff later learned that the surgery was “a micropulse laser surgery (MicroPulse transscleral cyclophotocoagulation) on his left eye,” the suit states.

The procedure was much more complex than Wong was led to believe, and the possible side effects were not fully explained. The side effects included blindness. “Plaintiff had agreed to the surgery believing it was a minor procedure [with] little to no side effects or symptoms,” the complaint claims.

Wong was asked to sign the consent form after he was sedated, according to the action.

Wong had severe pain and blurred vision in his left eye the day after the surgery. In a follow up visit with Zhang on June 4, no comment was offered. Zhang said she needed “additional observations,” and he was asked to come back a few days later.

The June 7 visit was with another doctor who noted that he had choroidal detachment and severe corneal swelling. He was told to use oflaxacin eye drops, the suit states. The choroid is a loosely attached membrane between the retina and the white outer layer of the eye, which contains many blood vessels for the nourishment of the retina, and which absorbs excess light to improve vision.

The June 13 visit was again with Zhang, who told Wong that after the swelling subsided the choroidal detachment would heal itself and his vision would return to normal, the complaint claims.

 On August 15, Wong had a second surgery to relieve the symptoms, but there was no improvement, according to the action.

Wong had many follow up visits with Zhang, who continued to assure him that his vision would return, even as his vision continued to worsen. Wong “has lost the use of his left eye for all practical purposes,” as his vision in that eye “is extremely poor and he is unable to distinguish shapes or features of the objects,” the suit states. Wong continues to also suffer from pain in that eye. 

“Zhang has determined that the left eye complication from the surgery is likely irreversible,” and told Wong “that over application of the laser during the surgery may have caused the [loss] of vision in his left eye,” according to the action.

Wong seeks general damages, special consequential damages, including hospital and medical expenses, punitive damages, and legal costs.

Wong is represented by John Chow of Chan Chow & Dai, P.C. in San Francisco, California.