Surgical error during biopsy left me permanently blind
I had various symptoms of an undiagnosed illness from March to September 1991. Blood tests and imaging tests ( x-rays, ultra sounds, MRI, CT scans, that produce pictures of the inside of the body) suggested Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
On September 30 of 1991, a simple forceps biopsy was performed (in my chest of a massive 13cm tumor) to diagnose, and/or grade and stage Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A surgical accident occured during this biopsy; the Superior Vena Cava (large vein which returns blood to the heart from the head, neck and both upper limbs) was erroneously cut and erroneously sewn closed, resulting in Superior Vena Cava arrest. Surgery was emergently ended. During recovery, while on a ventilator (a breathing machine; aka life support), I awoke and was already totally blind.
Tests were performed, consulting phone calls were made to experts all over the world, and a second surgery was performed that evening to repair the damage. During that second surgery, a heart bypass was performed (a Gortex graft from jugular vein in neck to the heart) to save my life but the total (both eyes) blindness could not be reversed. Later, it was determined that additional damage was done to my diaphragm and one lung. Today I remain permanently blind (due to optic nerve death from the lack of blood flow) and have medical complications directly resulting from the surgical accident.