Illinois Court Rules Hospital Not Liable For Blinding Fungal Infection
William Raleigh, an Illinois dentist, went in for right eye cataract surgery in the fall of 2000. About a day after an Alcon AcrySof lens was implanted in his eye, the man began to suffer from pain and visual disturbances. The complications were caused by a rare fungal infection and Raleigh was forced to get his eye removed in a second surgery.
Raleigh responded by suing the hospital, West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, for medical malpractice and the manufacturer of the medical device, Alcon Laboratories, for product liability. Unfortunately, both lawsuits were dismissed due to a lack of evidence – it was impossible for medical experts to tie the fungal infection to either the lens or the equipment used during surgery. While everyone could agree that something went wrong during the surgery that led to the rare fungus infection, no one could say what the origin of the fungus was or how the fungus was introduced to the man’s eye.
The court decided that the hospital and the manufacturer did not deviate for accepted standards of care and that negligence could not be proven. Neither the Illinois hospital nor the lens manufacturer has commented on the outcome of the two lawsuits.