NY Doctor Failed to Diagnose Glaucoma Resulting in Blindness

A Brooklyn jury returned a $15 million verdict in a lawsuit against a Brooklyn hospital after the patient’s doctor at the hospital failed to diagnose glaucoma on several different occasions, according to the Associated Press.  After complaining of blurred vision and pressure around her eyes, both symptoms of the degenerative disease, Amanda Velasquez set up an appointment with her obstetrician. Dr. Reginald Ruiz, at Woodhull Medical Center. Dr. Ruiz told Velasquez, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the appointment, that her eye problems were related to her pregnancy and she should not be concerned.

With her vision continuing to decline, Velasquez complained about her vision and the pressure around her eyes at six different appointments with Dr. Ruiz over the following two months. According to her testimony before the New York Supreme Court, the lowest court in the state, Velasquez knew something was seriously wrong after she gave birth and could not see the child on her lap. She immediately made an appointment at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, where she was diagnosed with glaucoma. By the time Velasquez could undergo surgery, she was already 90 percent blind and the damage to her vision was irreversible.

In response to The Daily Mail article on her successful medical malpractice lawsuit, Velasquez said, “There’s no amount of money that can begin to make up for what was taken from me. I can’t take my kids to the park, help them with their homework, or watch a sunset, but I am grateful that the jury saw through the hospital’s lies and tried to give me justice.”

A representative for Woodhull Hospital told The New York Daily News that the hospital “…places the quality of care and patient safety as our highest priorities.” The representative then called the jury’s award excessive and promised to appeal the verdict. According to court documents, Dr. Ramirez moved to California in 2013 and could not be located to testify during the trial.