Botched Chicago Eye Surgery Leaves Woman with Reduced Vision – $1 Million Verdict in Zaleski v. Elmhurst Eye Surgery Center

A $1 million jury verdict award was entered against a Cook County surgeon and his surgical center for their negligence during an eye surgery. The surgical error left the 24 year-old plaintiff, Cindy Zaleski, with a permanent eye injury. Cindy Zaleski v. Elmhurst Eye Surgery Center, et al., No. 08 L 7387.

In 2006, Ms. Zaleski presented to the Kovach Eye Institute in order to undergo a procedure to correct her nearsightedness. Dr. Kevin Kovach recommended Zaleski undergo a phakic intraocular lens implant procedure, which involved implanting a corrective lens behind the eye’s cornea. This type of procedure is typically performed on patients whose nearsightedness too severe to undergo a standard LASIK procedure.

Zaleski required the eye surgery for both her right and left eyes. And while the right eye procedure was uneventful, she was left with permanently distorted and blurred vision in her left eye. The Cook County medical malpractice alleged that her vision loss was a direct result of Dr. Kovach’s surgical negligence.

Specifically, the plaintiff accused Dr. Kovach of failing to follow the medical standard of care in regards to monitoring Zaleski’s eye pressure. Had Dr. Kovach done so, he would have discovered that her eye pressure had increased to the point that it was cutting off blood flow to the eye’s iris and damaging the optic nerve’s neurons. However, the plaintiff’s attorney argued that his failure to do so was medical negligence.

Dr. Kovach’s preventable surgical errors left Ms. Zaleski with a permanently enlarged and dilated left pupil, which was the source of her distorted and blurred vision. Not only does Ms. Zaleski now required to use glasses in addition to her placed contact lenses, but she is increasingly sensitive to light, resulting in headaches while driving or reading.

While Kovach and his attorneys contested the plaintiff’s surgical error accusations for throughout the discovery process, the doctor and his surgical center admitted liability right before the trial began. As a result, the jury was only asked to decide the amount of damages Zaleski was entitled to; it decided $1 million would suffice.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois surgical malpractice cases for over 35 years for individuals and families in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Naperville, Orland Park, Melrose Park, and Forest Park.

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