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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Man Can’t Sue Docs Over Unneeded Eye Removal

(CN) - A Texas man whose eye was removed but found to be non-cancerous cannot prevail on his medical malpractice lawsuit, a state appeals court ruled.

Leonardo Quintero Jr. sued TMH Physician Organization, two doctors and Houston Methodist Hospital, where he had a biopsy performed on his right eye in 2011.

Dr. Patricia Chevez-Barrios and Dr. Mary Schwartz reviewed the pathology slides and found that one included cells "consistent with metastatic carcinoma."

Doctors at a different hospital, MD Anderson, reviewed the slides and diagnosed Quintero with "poorly differentiated carcinoma."

A surgeon at that hospital removed Quintero's right eye and the surrounding tissue, both of which contained no cancerous tumors.

Quintero's lawsuit included an expert report from Dr. William Manion. After reviewing the medical reports, he stated that the defendants had breached the standard of care and without their diagnoses, "Mr. Quintero would not have undergone the surgical removal of his eye."

The defendant moved to dismiss the case, calling Manion's opinion conclusory. Quintero submitted a second expert report from Dr. Don Minckler.

"There was no convincing evidence of cancer on the slides," he stated.

The defendants also objected to this expert as conclusory, noting that Minckler had reviewed digitized copies of the pathology slides, not the originals.

The trial court agreed and dismissed Quintero's lawsuit with prejudice.

Quintero appealed, but the Houston-based 1st District Texas Court of Appeals agreed that his case should be dismissed.

"Quintero argues that the mere fact that he was referred to MD Anderson as a result of the alleged breaches is sufficient, but we are not permitted to make such an inference," Justice Rebeca Huddle wrote on behalf of the court's three-justice panel.

"We therefore conclude that the reports are conclusory regarding causation and fail to establish a causal connection between the alleged breaches of the standard of care and Quintero's injuries," she added.

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