I had a detaching retina in April 2006. I was immediately sent to see a retina specialist and because I had just started a new job in the ER, got fired, as they knew I'd need sick time off. A friend took me to DSS and got me covered by Medicaid...and thank God she did. I ended up with 4 major surgeries and 6 office procedures to repair the retina and then the "whoomp" in my vision. Both MDs~~the retina specialist and his upstairs buddy an older Opthamologist kept telling me, "You're gonna see clear soon!".....the Opthamologist went on his scheduled vacation in July, knowing I'd been having increasing IOP and it was 34 when he left. He left nobody on call for his service, as his downstairs specialist buddy was around. When he got back from vacation my IOP was 54...and my optic nerve is now destroyed. I'm a healthy, 55yr old ER RN....and to boot, the vision loss caused me to fall off the bed trying to put light bulbs in the ceiling fan so I could see the classifieds and go back to work.....I broke my leg and forearm. Now I have one eye, and my right leg and forearm are titanium. Of course Disability doesn't feel I am the least bit disabled and that if I can't be a nurse...HEY, work at Wal-mart!
Can you tell I'm angry? I've talked to 7attorneys and they all refuse to take the case, but don't really tell me anymore than, "It's hard to prove," I'm almost ready to represent myself and give it a whirl...I have nothing more to lose.
Can any MD tell me if this is just one of those sad things...or should I be finding another attorney?
Retinal detachments are serious medical problems in which the retina is separated from its underlying nutritional supply. Damage to the cells that transmit light to the brain can occur impair vision. You have had multiple surgeries to repair the retina and suffered complications. Why this happens to one person and not another is unknown. As with any serious disease, it is important to seek help to understand how you can better deal with and recover from the loss that has occurred.
Sandy T. Feldman, M.D., M.S.
ClearView Eye and Laser Medical Center
San Diego, California
I'm so sorry to read about your horrible experience. I don't know much about the legal aspects of your situation, but I do know a little about getting disability benefits. It's often possible to be approved for benefits based on the emotional consequences of a physical condition (e.g., depression, anxiety), even if the condition itself is not judged to be sufficient. This is especially true when emotional distress produces such symptoms as poor concentration, diminished energy level, sleep disturbance, and extreme irritability, which would likely impair work performance. (It would be hard for someone with these symptoms to hold a job a Walmart, or anyplace else.) In my state, getting approved for disability makes it possible to receive many additional benefits, including extensive vocational rehabilitation. This might be an avenue you'd want to pursue. Best wishes.
What a terrible experience you've gone through. As I patient of multiple RD's in both eyes let me offer you my thoughts:
If you were going to go down the path of trying to make a lawsuit it will be hard to do, but you need to be informed and get all your medical records to see what all has been documented by the medical professionals. Also, as a patient you should have been followed up more closely when it was noted that your pressure was elevated and you should have been informed about the symptoms of a sudden rise in IOP which can occur after RD surgery, in particular w/ a pnuematic retinopexy. At anytime when your surgeon was on vacation if you had felt that your vision was deteriorating you should have gone to the ER or seen the other doctor.
As for trying to apply for disability of any kind it is extremely difficult to get approved. I just recently got approved for medicaid after many denials and appeals hearings. With all the restrication of medicaid I would much rather be working and paying for my own insurance, however, at this point in time my vision is still on the mend and my doctor does not think it wise for me to return to work as my prognosis is still unstable. I suffered irreversible nerve damage in my left eye due to RDs and my right eye has lost a significant amount of peripheral vision due to RDs as well and I'm only 23 years old. Having ROP and then suffering RDs which are complicated by PVR are no fun.
I think that at this point in time it may just be best for you to try and move on with your life. There are many successful people in the world who have only one functional eye and there are also those with no vision in either eye. Try contacting your local department for the blind and visually impaired they have great resources that you can take advantage of. Have courage and patience. I know that it is rough and takes a huge adjustment period, but eventually things will get better.
She also needs to find out if she has a case against her doctor, and it looks like she might, He left her with no backup, and no instruction on how to proceed if her eyes changed. She needs to present this to several attorneys and do the best for herself.
I went into my oph's office with symptoms of PVD and I have many high risk factors. They minimized my problems and sent me home. Two days later my eyes had a fourth of July Show, I called my doctor repeatedly and he would not call me back. So I went to two hospitals who ignored me when I told them my eye must be looked at. Two receptionists, 2 nurses and 3 mds ignored my pleas about my eyes, and held me overnight for a stress test. They gave me tranquilizers. I thought That I was the one who was crazy, because no one would listen. I thought I must be wrong in the knowledge that I had been given to protect my eyes, because no one would listen. Two months later, I found my retinal detachment at home, with the knowledge that I was given long ago. But it was really too late to fix my eye. Detachments need to be caught in 2 week, during the period I consulted the doctors and the hospitals and no on would help or believe, My symptoms subsided, and no one had helped me, No one would even pay attention. I really thought I was crazy and they must be right and me wrong, After all medical personeel should know more about eyes than a college professor.
I am going to bring a lawsuit against both hospitals and 2 ophthalmolgits who would not listen or return my phone calls. It is possible that the law suit may include other doctors.
I am doing this because losing sight in one eye limits my work and increases my expenses. I need a lot of help to maeuver safely. I have many needs and losses because I could not get help. It is also the principle. I don't want any more people hurt by these doctors or hospitals I will stop now. But people who are harmed my medical negligence should be helped with compensation. My life will never be the same. My ability to do my work will never be the same. My appreciation for beauty and my safety have been compromised, No compensation can ever restore the vision I have lost. The doctors, had they acted promtly, ould have told me that I neede a retinologist. I would not even called the retinologist I know . I would have taken a taxi to his office the day that the opthalmologist should have realized that I am high risk, especially since my daughter's retinas had attached, and that I was having PVD with high myopia and serious lattice degeneration.
I told my ophthalmologist on the evening that my eys filled with tiny cannonballs and what seemed like lightening/flares, or I told his answering service that what was happening to my eyes was very serious. Even though the answering service delivered this message to him three times, he never called me.So then I wne to the hospitals and they also failed me by not listening.
I do not believ that a person's opportunity to sue should be miinimized, when great harm like this has been done. It is very difficalt for me to put all the records together for the lawyers, becuase of the trauma and pain I feel, But I must do it, I feel. People need to know that this kind if thing can happen, so that they wikk protet themselves as much as they can.
The previous messafe was for you, also.I know of a killer law firm in Seattle. They may be able to give you a referral to a law firm in your city.
When you have recovered (perhaps) from the emotional trauma. can you return to your nursing profession?
I work some at home: I cry a lot while I am working; it's so emotionally painful to concentrate.
JodieJ is right--that is an avenue for getting federal disability. Get a lawyer to help you. It's the best way. The lawyer will take a percentage of your first check,the one for backdated benefits.
SS benefits are low, but it is a start. You are allowed to make some money, because they are so low. Depends on how much you have paid in to the SS system.
BTW, did your retina specialist tell you to see the oph in the building, while he was gone?
My loss was in 2007 also, and I am still suffering from trauma. My emotions are on a roller coaster and I cry all the time. The grief over my eyeseems endless. I suffered more trauma because of the kind of treatment my retina surgeon subjected me to.
I hope you have some victories soon, in gaining resources to take care of yourself. You can click on my name and send me a private message, if I can answer any questions or give you any leads.
Thanks! I absolutely will do that as I am not wanting to ruin anyone, just think they should pay IF/WHEN they act irresponsibly. I actually cornered the RETINA MD in his office when he finally told me this blindness was forever, after telling me 30 times, "You'll be seeing clearly again in 2 days or 4 days..." and he finally told me (this is verbatim), "I guess I have to accept some of the blame. I am the newbie in this (out of med school 5 yrs) and maybe I should have pushed Dr. OPTHAMOLOGIST (the vacationing MD) to do more when the headaches began, but he's been in practice for 30+ yrs, and I didn't feel it was my place to tell him what to do." When I began to cry and said, "I am a colleague! I'm a RN! You should have protected me, not screwed me! What will I do now?" His response was, "I have another RN who has ended up with the exact same complication now...maybe I will see if she will talk to you."
WHY in the world would talking to another poor middle aged RN be happy with the same outcome??? I just sat in his office waiting room for another hour sobbing. I din't care who saw me...I didn't care about anything except WHY he had not done what was right. As a RN, I am the patient's advocate. Sometimes, the ONLY advocate they have! Lay persons don't have a clue what goes on behind their charts and closed doors! I feel it is part off my job to protect them if I can. I have had to stop drunk MD trauma surgeons from operating on a weekend by calling the Dept Head. I have had to step up and let people know things in "3rd grade language" (NOT being disrespectful) what is going on because the MDs talk AT them and not TO them. Todays students are taught totally different than the ones of the 70s when I was trained, as healthcare and insurance, or the lack of it now allows you 7 MINUTES of any doctor's time...I didn't make that #up...I have worked at a HUGE teaching hospital and that is drummed into their heads...7 MINUTES....get in & get out. They have it figured out to the penny. I tell every patient of mine, GET A NOTE BOOK AND HAVE YOUR QUESTIONS READY WHEN YOU GO TO THE MD. AND WRITE THINGS DOWN WHILE THERE SO THAT THEY MAKE SENSE WHEN YOU GET HOME. DO NOT LET THAT MD OUT OF THE ROOM TIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW OR YOUR 7 MINUTES IS UP! TAKE NAMES AND ASK WHO PEOPLE ARE WHO COME TO DO ANYTHING TO YOU OR WHO SEE YOU. THEY MIGHT BE IN THE WRONG ROOM AND NOT EVEN BE THERE TO SEE YOU!!! IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO ASK!
When people I go to give meds to ask me what they are getting I give them a dance and a hug! Who in these times would just let someone give them meds? I'll exit my soap box, but remember medicine is the practice of....we are all human beings...some of us are tired or stressed or just bad at a job we took because our Dad or someone chose it for us to do. The has to be a #1 in every class...AND a last of the class...who is treating you????
I have fought all my life to save my vision; you are a colleague of doctors and a patient advocate. It is incredible that this has happened to either of us. I know what the sorrow/loss/bewilderment is like for me. Your loss is tremendous.
I think you have grounds for a lawsuit. I am not a lawyer, even though I feel like one sometimes. It has to be explored more. Lawsuits are another endlessly painful thing to endure, like the grief over loss of vision.He admitted his fault. One of the most awful things about this is the treatment by my retinologist.
My loss makes me feel so helpless. I feel like part of my life has been taken from me, and it really has been. All this needs to be probed.
I feel your grief, frustration and anger. I am so sorry this has happened to you. We at least need to find a way to prevent this from happening to others. I do not want to ruin anyone, but I would indeed like to slow down the process of others being hurt. Yes, those who are responsible should pay to help us take care of ourselves, so that we don't fall, get hit by a car, and to make up the wages we have lose from all this.The worst part is that it is permanent. No one can do anything about the greatest loss. Vision is irreplaceable.
I have work that I must do for my career NOW. Every time I try to work on the project, I cry because the sensitivity of my work recalls the pain. I am an educator who helps marginalized populations. That is sort of true of my own life, and a result of my vision loss. I have nightmares every night, about the surgeon who, laughing and with a lilt to his voice, offered to unnecessarily take out my eye that still has some vision, etc. I will write more later.
I can't believe all this. It cannot be dismissed with "these things happen." No way.
I am so grateful to the many nurses who have helped me with other illnesses. I will send you a private message later.
I wish you lived close to me. I so know your pain and a hug online is just not the same. Feeling heard online, by another who has had the same type of loss DOES help a little. It at least makes me know I'm not crazy and losing my marbles. That is about all I have left to lose. I've given my life to taking good care of others. It was my choice not to take short cuts on real people. I've always treated people like I wanted to be treated, except for the drug seekers. I just do what is mandated by a MD and get them out of the ER, but I 100% ALWAYS check for their rides, as they are the biggest liars in the ER and I don't want one of them crossing the center line and hitting my son head-on on his way home with his girlfriend or others.
Crying turns out to be a positive...at least for me. Tears are the windshield washing liquid of the corneas and since I only have one sighted eye left it needs to see clearly....so I cry when I feel sad and laugh when I don't. I so wish I had some way to make your pain and frustration less....You sound like a wonderful woman and I am happy to have your friendship, AnnaE! I would not give up on Butterfly Kitty just yet, either. I lost my Thomas once....for 5 months and he was wearing a name tag. The morning of his euthanizing, some vet tech looked at the tag and tracked the # to my home and when I got the call I dropped to the floor in shock. He came home thinner than thin, with a bacterial infection, and was found 12miles from where I lived and when I was called I'd moved 2 hrs away from that city back to Charlotte, NC. I could not get to him fast enough. He is still with us...now 15yrs old. If Butterfly Kitty knows there is a dog around she may be out there and hiding...only coming out at night to hunt and prowl. Cats are so very smart! You and Kitty are in my heart and prayers!
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