The ophthalmologist and the avoidable lawsuit (Coverys)


Rebecca Foley was a middle-aged woman, who lived most of her life with her husband in Arlington, Texas.

Two years ago, her daughter had twins, so Rebecca started spending more time in Austin to help her daughter and son-in-law take care of the babies and to help around the house.

For years, Rebecca had a problem with her eyes - she wasn’t able to see close objects clearly, and the problem was getting worse.

One day she tripped on some steps while coming up in dim light, and fell hard.

The next day, Rebecca’s daughter convinced her to make an appointment for an eye exam.

Rebecca arrived for her appointment with her ophthalmologist - an older doctor with a grey beard, Dr. Emmanuel Sullivan.

After a series of tests Dr. Sullivan concluded: “Rebecca, we have some good news and some bad news.”

“Give me the bad news first,” Rebecca replied with a smile.

Dr. Sullivan explained that she had significant myopia or nearsightedness.

“But the good news is that you’re a candidate for laser eye surgery.”

He explained that laser eye surgery was a pain-free procedure that could be done in 15 minutes and offered long-lasting results.

Rebecca agreed and Dr. Sullivan scheduled her for the following Thursday.

On Thursday morning, the morning ophthalmology meeting was more tense than usual.

There were two procedure rooms with lasers, and one of the machines wasn’t working.

To accommodate all of the patients, Dr. Sullivan and his colleague Dr. Mason would have to share the same room.

When Rebecca came in for her procedure, she felt nervous but the procedure was really quick and she took the rest of the day off.

Dr. Sullivan had explained that she might experience some vision problems that day, but he told her that everything would be normal the following morning.

But Rebecca still couldn’t see well the next day or the day after that.