Mother at in house therapy program due to a brain bleed from fall/dizziness and developed an eye infection that escalated to point that she now has lost vision in the eye. Not sure how it escalated to that point without being looked at but I received a call on a Friday night at 5 pm to inform me of eye problems and to come and take her to the Eye Dr. the next day at 10 am; said it could not wait until Monday. (Note: There is a Dr on staff providing care.) I live out of state and could not get there by 10 am. I had no idea there was an eye problem and when asked how bad it was I was told a piece was peeling on her eye and it was bad; so, I told them if that bad to take her to emergency room. Apparently my mother had told them it hurt and they had been giving her a compress to place on it. After that night at the ER, the eye Dr. saw her every day for several weeks which went down to every other day and now once a week. Transportation was arranged by facility for those visits. I spoke w/eye Dr and they said is was an ulcer and infection and that it is now under control but sight has not returned. I was informed she was lucky she didn’t lose her eye. Since she now has vision loss, she still has trouble w/balance and cannot pass the OT test. The facility decided since the blindness will more than likely be permanent she will never be able to pass it so it was time to discharge her. She was released without her balance issue being resolved which is why she was admitted in the first place; and, now she only has vision in one eye. I have voiced my concerns to the social worker at the facility and spoke to eye doctor. Any suggestions on if I should pursue; and, if so, how?

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Sounds more like a retinal tear. You need all the facts before you go hiring an attorney. She was released to where? Not back home I hope. You need to be there in person and read all the medical reports yourself.
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I think I would at least get more information on how the whole process occurred, whether or not there's any possibility of vision returning, and go from there.

First, though, I wonder about the brain bleed and the infection, and whether or not treatment for the infection was appropriate. This is a unique area; I wouldn't even venture an opinion on what might have been done. So find out, for your own peace of mind.

I would research medical malpractice attorneys in your area, find a firm with a history of handling these claims, and consult them. They can order the medical records and get them much easier than you can. This might cost several hundred dollars for the records, which you would have to pay if the firm doesn't go forward with a suit.

A good med/mal firm will also have contact with physicians in various medical specialties and will have the records reviewed for possible malpractice issues, by specialists in the field. Some firms also have nurses on staff to provide initial relief of potential cases.

I think it's the best way to determine if another vision expert believes care was adequate or not.

The top firms won't take cases for which medical specialists in the same field won't support a determination of malpractice, so a good firm's decision as well as the report of the physician who reviews the records will help you understand what could have been done, if anything, and whether or not the treatment was appropriate.

The law firm can also research through Lexis/Nexis to determine if the treating doctor and the therapy center have been sued for malpractice before.

This vision issue sounds like something so unique that it might not have happened to others, but at least a lawsuit search would provide information on whether or not there have been other problems at this facility.

In the meantime, also do some research to find an ophthalmic specialist who can examine your mother's eye and determine if the damage is permanent or if there's anything that can be done to restore her vision.

While this review process is taking place, don't contact the facility or engage in any conversation with them if they do contact you. Let the attorney handle this.

In the meantime, if you have a geriatric doctor, consult him/her and see if you can get PT for balance to help avoid the likelihood of fall, as adjusting to vision in one eye is going to be necessary. You might also want to get a hearing test, as that is another aspect of balance stability.

Where is she now? Is she at home or in another facility? If she's at home, I would ask your geriatrician or other doctors for recommendations on home care, nursing as well as nonnursing. The goal would be to try to provide her with support at least during this adjustment period, but likely afterward as well.

This is a sad situation; I hope that you've able to find some comfort through the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney as you also help your mother move forward.
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