July 10, 2008--A New Jersey man has received $2.1 million in an out-of-court settlement of a malpractice lawsuit after a LASIK procedure left him legally blind. The lawsuit, filed against Dr. Joseph Dello Russo and the New Jersey Eye Center, is part of a group of 16 malpractice suits filed against Dr. Dello Russo for negligently performing LASIK.
The claims in this case were brought by 47-year-old James Dell'Ermo of Bedminster, NJ and his wife. They say that the LASIK procedure performed by Dr. Dello Russo in 2000 left Dell-Ermo legally blind (vision worse than 20/400 without corrective lenses) and that Dr. Dello Russo was at fault because he did not recognize that Dell'Ermo was not a candidate for Lasik and that he had steep corneas.
By performing the procedure, Dr. Dello Russo caused a condition known as ectasia to occur in Dell'Ermo's eyes. Ectasia is a progressive condition which will ultimately require him to have corneal transplants in both eyes.
According to news reports, Dr. Dello Russo disputes the legally blind claim and contends that Dell'Ermo has functional vision with contact lenses. According to Dell'Ermo's lawyer, David Mazie, with contact lenses Dell'Ermo has 20/50 vision.
Dr. Dello Russo told the Associated Press that he has done tens of thousands of laser procedures "without a hitch."