The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Woman Goes Blind After Botched Surgeries, Sues Everyone

It all started with a small benign cyst in her right eyelid. At some point during the removal procedure, Dr. Donna Johnson allegedly penetrated Evelyn Walton's eye with a needle, reports Courthouse News Service. The end result was blindness in her right eye.

The cause of the penetrating needle is still disputed, though it seems to involve a falling stretcher. Midway through Walton's surgery, part of the stretcher she was on collapsed. Whether the stretcher collapsed because of a defect or mishandling by hospital staff is still in dispute.

In order to fix Dr. Johnson's alleged medical malpractice, Walton went to Dr. Calvin Grant. He proceeded to perform "radical, unrecognized and medically unacceptable techniques that included the placement of a shunt connecting her left eye with her right eye," Walton's lawsuit states. Now she's blind in both eyes.

To recap, three defendants each allegedly played some part in Evelyn Walton's blindness -- the two doctors, and the maker of the stretcher that collapsed. She's now suing all three, along with the hospitals.

One interesting legal maneuver that is probably in the works will be the defendants' blaming of each other for Walton's injuries. Cross-claims between defendants, seeking indemnity due to other defendants' negligence, can essentially ask a court to force other defendants to cover their share of the damages.

For example, if the stretcher was defective, we can expect the initial treating physician to file a cross-claim against the stretcher manufacturer. If the initial damage to the right eye was reversible or was made worse by the second treating physician, we can expect an indemnity claim there as well, this time against the second physician.

In short, the injured party sues everyone. The parties named in the victim's lawsuit all point fingers at each other. Once the lawsuit is resolved, the parties with the most blame (or perhaps, the worst lawyers) will end up paying the tab for the damages.

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