South Florida

Man Awarded $13M in Damages Against South Florida Medical Center

A Miami-Dade man who permanently lost vision in one of his eyes after a botched cataract eye surgery has been awarded $13 million in damages by a jury following a lawsuit filed against a medical center.

The jury found Leon Medical Centers liable for contracting an ophthalmologist, Dr. Jonathan Leon-Rosen, to perform what should've been routine cataract eye surgeries.

The lawsuit alleges Dr. Leon-Rosen acted negligently by injecting the wrong medication into several dozen patients' eyes in September of 2013, including Miguel Diaz.

"Causing inflammation, damage to the cornea, resulting in different levels of visual loss all the way to total blindness," said attorney Gary Friedman, who represents the family of Miguel Diaz.

Within a few days, some patients complained of pain in the eyes and blurry vision, according to the lawsuit, which states Dr. Leon-Rosen made the same mistake a week later during additional surgeries.

"We were told that it was only inflammation of the cornea, that he was going to be okay," said Diaz' daughter Maria Flores, who said her elderly dad now relies on his wife for care.

"It's been described as an atomic bomb of the eye and he made them blind," said Flores.

Friedman represents Diaz and his wife, as well as 13 other patients who are now suing Leon Medical Centers for botched cataract eye surgeries.

The lawsuit claims Leon Medical Centers failed to act on patient complaints after the first round of surgeries.

A jury in the Diaz trial, which also awarded his wife $250,000, found Leon Medical Centers wasn't negligent but is liable and therefore responsible for paying up.

Leon Medical Centers released a statement that said in part, "While we are pleased that the jury correctly found that there was no negligence on the part of Leon Medical Centers, we are disappointed that the effect of their decision is to hold Leon Medical Centers liable for the actions of an independently contracted ophthalmologist group."

Leon Medical Centers said it now plans to appeal. Friedman said the next trial against the medical center is in November.

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