Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Ophthalmologist

On November 4, 2005, a jury in Cook County, Illinois returned a not guilty verdict in favor of Sheldon Brenner’s client, an ophthalmologist. The plaintiff, a retired 76 year old woman, underwent cataract surgery done with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. The local was given by a peribulbar block. The plaintiff contended the block was in fact never given and that as a result she experienced excruciating pain during the surgery and, that because of the sedation, she was unable to vocalize her distress. She also claimed that the defendant should have converted to general anesthesia during the operation when she began to move and cough. Plaintiff did not claim the surgery was successful, and sought damages for the pain she experienced during the operation and the emotional distress suffered since, including nightmares and sleeplessness. The defense contended the anesthetic block was given, although there was some confusion in the records whether it was done by the anesthesiologist, who had been sued but was dropped before trial, or the defendant. Neither could state with certainty that he did it, but they both agreed it was done. Defendant also contended he exercised reasonable judgment in deciding not to convert to general anesthesia.