$1.5 Million Cook County Jury Verdict for Medical Negligence in Handling Eye Infection

On Aug. 31, 2010, 58-year-old Romil Pityou went to the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago with complaints of pain, redness and decreased vision in his right eye. He was treated by the defendant Melvyn A. Gerstein, M.D., an ophthalmologist. Over the next three weeks, he continued to undergo treatment by Dr. Gerstein. Two days after his last visit to the Gerstein Eye Institute, he went to a hospital emergency room where he was referred to a cornea/retina specialist who diagnosed him with endophthalmitis, which is an infection of the inner eye.

Pityou filed a lawsuit against Gerstein Eye Institute and Dr. Gerstein, maintaining that both were negligent by choosing not to properly treat his corneal infection. Without treatment, the delay caused him to suffer endophthalmitis, blindness of the right eye and a shrunken eyeball. He was fitted with a prosthetic shell.

The defendants contended that their treatment of the corneal ulcer was proper and within the standard of care. The defendants said the plaintiff’s eye corneal infection was not related to the corneal ulcer and that the endophthalmitis was likely caused by bacteria that was introduced to the eye during a prior cataract surgery.

Reportedly the jury deliberated for less than 1.5 hours before they came up with a verdict in favor of Pityou and against the defendants in the sum of $1,500,000, made up of the following damages:

• $100,000 for disfigurement;
• $100,000 for past loss of normal life;
• $500,000 for future loss of normal life;
• $300,000 for past pain and suffering; and
• $500,000 for future pain and suffering.

The attorneys representing Pityou were Kyle R. Kasmarick and Nicholas C. Syregelas. The demand to settle and the request to the jury were both $1,500,000, which is exactly the jury’s verdict that the court entered. It is interesting that during this trial, which was tried over as many as 4 or 5 days, there was no offer made by the defendants at any time to try to settle the case.

At trial, the Pityou attorneys offered an expert in ophthalmology to testify as did the defendants.

Romil Pityou v. Gerstein Eye Institute, Ltd., Dr. Melvyn A. Gerstein, No. 12 L 55 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, ophthalmology negligence cases, birth trauma injury cases and nursing home abuse cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Morton Grove, Niles, Hinsdale, Western Springs, Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Gurnee, Barrington, Chicago (Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, Portage Park, New Town, Morgan Park, Lower West Side, the Loop, Little Italy, Lithuanian Plaza, Andersonville, Archer Heights, Lincoln Park, Oz Park, Sauganash, Wrigleyville), Palos Hills and Hickory Hills, Ill.

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