Another case of medical malpractice in which a child lost sight in one eye — because he moved at the wrong moment — has surfaced this week in San Luis Potosí.
The state Human Rights Commission issued a set of recommendations in connection with the case of Jesús, a young boy diagnosed with a maxillofacial cyst who was left blind in his right eye.
It was in October 2013 when a medical intern at the Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto Central Hospital in the state’s capital carried out the intervention —subtraction of cystic fluid with a syringe— on Jesús, then almost two years old. The point of entry was through the child’s upper right gum.
Ten minutes later it was over and Jesús was returned to his mother. But she immediately noticed that the boy’s right eye was injured, barely open and teary. She was then informed that the boy had to undergo an ophthalmologist’s evaluation because his eye had been punctured during the procedure.
After an assessment, it was decided that Jesús should remain in the hospital for 10 more days. During that time the cyst was removed and the bleeding in his eye controlled.
Seven days after being discharged Jesús returned to the hospital for an ophthalmologist’s follow-up, when a retinal detachment, in which the retina is removed from its normal position, was detected. Doctors decided on surgical intervention to correct the problem.
Five months after that intervention, a retinal detachment was detected once again. But a second surgery, although programmed, was delayed: Jesús’ lab results had been misplaced.
Two months later, the surgery was finally performed, but it turned out it was too late to make any difference for the child. Medical staff informed Jesús’ mother that sight in the child’s right eye was irreversibly lost due to the time that had elapsed without medical attention.
Mortified, Jesús’ mother filed a complaint before the Human Rights Commission which, after looking at forensic evidence, conducting interviews and reviewing official documents, found the hospital responsible for several violations that affected the health of the young patient.
In its defense, the hospital claimed that the puncture of the child’s eye was caused by his “sudden, involuntary movements, characteristic of his age.”
The six-point recommendation issued by the state human rights ombudsman includes compensation for the injuries caused.
The investigation also detected irregularities in Jesús medical records, and that his mother’s authorization was never requested for the original treatment of the cyst.
There was another case of a botched procedure involving an eye in Sonora last July when a doctor mistakenly removed a 14-month-old infant’s healthy eye.