Lawsuit accuses Charleston County physician of operating on wrong eye
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The estate of a Charleston County man filed a lawsuit against a hospital, multiple businesses and a physician alleging negligence and recklessness.
The lawsuit, filed by the estate of James Sams, states that Sams, who has since died, was having vision problems in his left eye back in February of 2021.
Sams’ estate names Roper St. Francis Healthcare, The Retina Eye Center of Charleston, Carolina Eye Care Physicians and Dr. Lowrey King in the suit.
During an appointment in February of 2021, Roper St. Francis Eye Care and Retina Eye Center informed Sams he would need surgery on his left eye, court documents state. On the day of the surgery, March 15, 2021, hospital staff prepared Sams’ left eye for a pars plana vitrectomy, the suit states, but once in the operating room, King allegedly performed “an unnecessary, nonconsensual and inappropriate vitrectomy” on Sams’ right eye while “failing to render any care or treatment” to his left eye.
Court documents allege it wasn’t until Sams was in recovery that the hospital and King realized the operation had been performed on the wrong eye.
“In the months following this incident, Mr. Sams was essentially blind and required round-the-clock care from his daughters,” the lawsuit states. “This was due to the fact that his otherwise good eye (right eye) was bandaged/covered after the improper procedure and the pre-existing problems with his left eye remained unchanged and untreated.”
The suit states that even after the bandage was removed, vision in his right eye never returned to its pre-operation state.
Court documents quote a portion of the Roper operating room report which the documents allege is a “handwritten addendum” from King that read, in part:
The patient was consented for a procedure on the left eye. The right eye was draped in error due to poorly visible correct site marking placed by the operating surgeon. ... Upon patient discharge the error of correct site was discovered. I personally met with the daughter/caregiver and explained that while the right eye had operable pathology that benefitted from the procedure, there was a failure in determining the correct eye for which surgery was consented. I explained the nature and root cause of the non-consented right eye being failure to perform a strict multi-step time out and practical invisibility of the blue mark on the forehead.
The lawsuit, filed on Friday, seeks actual and punitive damages as well as court costs “and any such other and further relief” the court would determine to be proper.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
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