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As a law clerk I got the chance to see a medical malpractice suit in federal court involving damage done to an eye. The thing that really was impressed upon me was the major problems that people have when they are left with only one good working eye. So I found particularly disturbing the State of Washington story about the boy who had the wrong eye operated on.

The 4 year old boy had a wandering eye. So his parents agreed to have him go through a procedure that would help with that. Unfortunately, due to the doctor "losing his sense of direction" the wrong eye was done. So the safety net that the boy had was removed. He now suffers with problems in both eyes.

This is the kind of story that shocks the senses. It shouldn’t happen and despite absolutely accepting that the doctor had no intention of it happening, it is no different then the person who rear ends another or causes a collision by driving too fast.

As a four year old, he has a loss that will last forever. But, one which the tort reformers will tell you should be capped at some artificial number. Now even with reading the extensive coverage that has been done of the case, I have no idea what the overall damages are. I hope that justice will insure that the boy is taken care of.

But, with no wage loss and the bills taken care of, the insurance loving malpractice reformers will just walk away and say "too bad". This is a real case that would be affected by made up numbers. It seems that these legislators have also lost their sense of direction.


  1. Interesting direct email I got on this case:

    At least research this case first. Strabismus surgery is almost always done on both eyes. It is the surgeons decision if it is done on both or one. This boy had surgery for exotropia. The surgery could have been done on the right, left or both eyes and any of these would work equally well. A wrong site surgery is a breakdown in the surgical protocol and should never happen and I am not saying this is not a very serious error. However, in this case, it will cause no harm and has no chance of hurting this child or either eye. The comments being made about this case NE this doctor are way off base and typical of our sue people for anything societal approach that trial lawyers have helped create.

  2. This email seems contrary to the story as the doctor involved said:

    Goodman then told the family that she had lost her sense of direction during the procedure because a nurse had mistakenly covered the mark Goodman had made on the eye that needed correction while prepping the boy for surgery.

  3. What about the Strabismus surgery information?

    Looking at the background on the procedure is a procedure on a lazy eye. The results seem to be that: the surgery hasn’t helped to correct Jesse’s wandering right eye. In addition, it appears as though the unnecessary surgery on his left eye has caused it to wander slightly.

    Dr. Goodman was not an employee of the hospital, but the hospital is said that they will investigate the error to prevent such accidents from occurring in the company’s hospitals in the


    Sounds like a wrong eye procedure to me.

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