Chicago Doctor Operated on Wrong Eye, Patient Claims in Lawsuit

May 3, 2019 Updated: May 3, 2019

A Chicago area doctor allegedly performed surgery on the wrong eye, claims a lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court. The doctor is also accused of later trying to fix the mistake without anesthesia.

Sutton Dryfhout, 21, filed a medical negligence lawsuit against Benjamin Ticho, an ophthalmologist at The Eye Specialists Center near Chicago, following a 2017 surgery to fix a lazy eye, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The suit, filed on April 29, claims Ticho mistakenly operated on Dryfhout’s right eye, ABC News reported, instead of her left eye.

Attorneys communicating on behalf of the plaintiff alleged in a statement Thursday that the mistake was brought to Ticho’s attention by a nurse who asked the surgeon why Dryfhout’s right eye was bleeding when the surgery was supposed to have been done to her left eye.

According to ABC, the attorneys alleged the doctor then used unsterile surgical instruments from another patient to operate on Dryfhout’s left eye, without gloves or anesthesia.

They said Ticho “attempted to perform the surgery on the correct eye while Sutton was wide awake.”

“Sutton screamed and yelled for Dr. Ticho to stop,” the lawyers stated, ABC reported. “She saw and felt surgical instruments including a needle and scissors going into her eye and could feel burning from a cautery pen being used on her eye.”

Dryfhout claims the procedure has left her with double vision and headaches and caused her to suffer psychological trauma.

The Chicago Tribune reports the suit alleges negligence, medical battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Attorney Valerie Leopold told the publication that her client is seeking damages of more than $50,000.

Doctors Find ‘Sweat Bees’ Feeding on Her Tears

The incident recalls the case of a woman in Taiwan who checked into a hospital complaining of intense eye pain and was found to have four live bees inside her eye, feeding off the salt and water in her tears.

CTS News reported on April 3 that a woman identified only by her surname—He—was treated at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan.

An eye doctor who examined He discovered there were four small sweat bees wriggling around on the inside of her eyelid.

The hospital’s head of ophthalmology, Dr. Hong Chi Ting, told the BBC he was “shocked” to find four live insects in the patient’s eye socket.

“I saw something that looked like insect legs, so I pulled them out under a microscope slowly, and one at a time without damaging their bodies,” Hong said, according to Business Insider Singapore.

The doctor told a news conference that the bees had been feeding off the woman’s tears.

Hong was cited by the BBC as saying the bees were about 4 mm (5/32 inch) in size.

Weeding a Grave

The woman had reportedly been out pulling out weeds from around the graves of relatives as part of the Chinese Qing Ming tomb-cleaning festival.

“I was visiting and tidying a relative’s grave with my family,” He told reporters, The Washington Post reported. “I was squatting down and pulling out weeds.”

She told reporters a gust of wind blew something into her eyes, and she thought it was dirt. She flushed the area with water, she said, and out of fear she might damage her contact lenses, the woman avoided rubbing her eyes.

Hong told the BBC she was lucky not to have rubbed her eyes because that may have caused the bees to release venom, leading to blindness.

“She was wearing contact lenses so she didn’t dare to rub her eyes in case she broke the lens. If she did she could have induced the bees to produce venom… she could have gone blind,” Hong said, according to the report.

Hours after the insects flew into He’s eyes, her discomfort turned to pain. The following day it became so intense, she sought medical attention.

“She couldn’t completely close her eyes. I looked into the gap with a microscope and saw something black that looked like an insect leg,” Hong told the BBC.

“I grabbed the leg and very slowly took one out, then I saw another one, and another and another. They were still intact and all alive.”

Close-up images of the bees embedded in the woman’s eyes were shown on Taiwanese TV.

First Case Ever?

Hong told the BBC he believes this is the first case in Taiwan of sweat bees infesting someone’s eye socket.

Matan Shelomi, an associate professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, told The Washington Post that this may, in fact, be the first time in recorded history such an incident has ever occurred.

“To my knowledge, this is the first case of a bee or a wasp getting caught in a part of a person’s anatomy, as far as I know,” he said, The Post reported. “I’m sure the sweat bees got by the eye and got squished between the eye and eyelid. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

She was discharged and is expected to make a full recovery, KRON-TV reported.

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