Entries in Mistake (1)


Medical Mistake: Surgeon Operates on the Wrong Eye

Thinkstock/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Jesse Matlock is going to a doctor to find out if he suffered any permanent damage when a surgeon performed corrective surgery on the wrong eye and then, without consulting the boy's parents, quickly operated on the correct eye.

"Right now we're in the dark about what this will be like in the future," Tasha Gaul, mother of four-year-old Jesse, told ABC News.

Jesse, of Vancouver, Canada, had been seeing Dr. Shawn Goodman in Lake Oswego, Ore., every six months since his parents had discovered he had a wandering right eye. Last Wednesday, a few days before his fourth birthday, he went into the operating room at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Ore.

Gaul told ABC News that the doctor described the surgery as meant to weaken the muscle at the bottom of Jesse's right eye, since the strength of that muscle was causing his eye to wander. It wasn't until she completed the procedure that she realized she had operated on the left eye.

After the procedure on the right eye was finished, Goodman came out to address the family. Gaul said the doctor laid it out in medical terms. 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.

"They didn't tell us about the doctor accidentally operating on the wrong eye. They just said they were operating on both," says Gaul of the moment when the first nurse came out during the surgery. "As far as responsibility, at that point when they realized, I felt they were trying to cover it up at first. I don't know if that was because the doctor wanted to be the one to tell us, [but] from what they said, I felt like they were trying to hide something at the time."

Since the operation, Jesse's left eye seems to be wandering, while the right still does not seem fixed in the view of Jesse's mother. Fortunately, Jesse seems to have normal eyesight, but he is forced to put in eye drops three times a day, and he must wear dark sunglasses to protect his eyes.

Neither Goodman nor the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center immediately responded to interview requests made by ABC News.

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