Posted in News on August 9, 2021
Instances of medical malpractice can leave patients with devastating lifelong injuries. These injuries can cause serious handicaps that upend a patient, and many times their families lives.
Jaimi Espy of Miles City unfortunately was a victim of medical malpractice in Montana.
In 2006, Jaimi had an artificial lens implanted in her eye to correct nearsightedness that eventually “spontaneously dislodged” in 2013.
In 2013, Mrs. Espy was referred to a specialist by her optometrist. This specialist performed a full cornea transplant in the impacted eye in an attempt to relieve the ongoing eye pressure that Jaimi was suffering from. However, after the cornea transplant occurred, the eye pressure was never relieved.
As doctors and medical professionals attempted to relieve medical ailments in Jaimi’s eye, other issues developed as current ailments were addressed.
When one surgery would prove to be successful, and the pressure would drop, the retina detached from the back of here. When that occurred, more surgeries were required. Eventually a team of specialists discussed a plan to save Jaimi’s vision. They discussed a plan to attempt to save the right eye (the left eye was deemed unsavable).
These vision problems eventually led to Jaimi being left blind in her right eye. Her right eye was shrouded in blindness, with the exception of minimal vision the size of a pinhole, Jaimi was left blind. After 14 surgeries to Jaimi’s right eye, the intervention was able to save 3% of the patient’s vision.
This lens dislodgement caused significant pain and emotional damages to Jaimi. Unfortunately this dislodgement also led to serious life-long vision problems.
What Happened to Jaimi Espy?
After the original surgical procedure occurred in 2006, Mrs. Espy experienced relatively normal vision. In 2013, the lens detached and Jaimi had to wait eighteen long days to see the doctor that performed the procedure. During this eighteen day time period, Jaimi was left with extreme pain, anxiety regarding her future health and a lack of vision in her right eye. She voiced concerns regarding the pain in her eye, and the eye pressure that she was experiencing.
Years later, in 2017, Jaimi Espy filed suit against the doctor that performed the initial eye surgery. Jaimi alleged that the doctor that originally performed the implanted lens surgery, Brian LaGreca, had failed to regard “applicable standards of care”. Jaimi’s lawyers claimed that she was not a viable candidate for this surgery based on the FDA approved guidelines, and her surgery should have been prohibited for use of implants. The lawyers stated that Jaimi Espy was never properly informed of the risks of the surgery.
Jaimi’s attorney, Joe Cook of Heenan & Cook PLLC, took the case to court. In June of 2021 after a trial that lasted a week, a jury in a 9 to 3 decision, ruled in favor of Jaimi and found the doctor to be negligent. Fifteen years after the original surgery occurred to repair nearsightedness, Jaimi was awarded $3.1 million dollars by a jury of her peers.
The jury from Yellowstone County District Court awarded damages in the amount of $3.1 million to Jaimi Espy. This amount is the largest amount of damages awarded in a medical malpractice case in the State of Montana’s history.
This decision is currently being challenged by the defendant and their legal team. As of publication Jaimi has 3% of her vision remaining in her right eye and is blind in her left eye.