Eye Doctor Sued For Operating On The Wrong Eye, Then Operating On The Correct One Without Anesthesia

Benjamin Ticho allegedly left a patient screaming in pain with bloody tears.

A patient undergoing surgery on their left eye.
Brian Ferguson / United States Air Force (GPL Aaron Homer)

Benjamin Ticho allegedly left a patient screaming in pain with bloody tears.

A Chicago eye doctor has been sued for allegedly operating on the wrong eye of one of his patients, and for then operating on her correct eye without anesthesia, ABC News reports.

Sutton Dryfhout, 21, has sued Dr. Benjamin Ticho of The Eye Specialists Center in suburban Chicago following a botched 2017 surgery. Dryfhout says the experience was akin to being tortured.

Dryfhout, who was 19 at the time, had gone to Dr. Ticho’s practice to have a cyst removed from her left eye. However, according to her lawsuit, Ticho operated on her right eye instead. As Dryfhout was in the recovery room, a nurse noticed that her right eye was bleeding — even though her left eye should have been operated on. The nurse brought the matter to Ticho’s attention.

WARNING: The next paragraphs contain content that may be disturbing to some readers.

Ticho, who was doing another surgery on another patient at the time, allegedly finished up that surgery — and then returned to work on Dryfhout’s left eye. During Dryfhout’s second surgery that day, he allegedly used the same surgical tools from his previous procedure, rather than using clean and sterile tools.

What’s worse, Dryfhout claims, Ticho operated on her without anesthesia — even as she screamed in pain, cried tears of blood, and begged him to stop, according to her attorneys.

“Dr. Ticho instructed the nurse to hold down Sutton’s head and hold her left eye open. Dr. Ticho then attempted to perform the surgery on the correct eye while Sutton was wide awake. Sutton screamed and yelled for Dr. Ticho to stop. She saw and felt surgical instruments including a needle and scissors going into her eye and could feel burning from a cautery pen being used on her eye,” lawyers representing Dryfhout stated.

Dryfhout, who reportedly still suffers from headaches and double vision following the surgery, has sued Dr. Ticho and his practice for $50,000. Her suit charges Dr. Ticho with negligence, medical battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Neither Dr. Ticho nor attorneys representing him, or his practice, have commented on the suit, as of this writing.

So prevalent is the problem of surgeons operating on the wrong parts of patients’ bodies, or even the wrong patient, says Patient Safety Network, that the practice even has a name — “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors (WSPEs).” And while such problems are exceedingly rare in the operating room (occurring about once every 5 to 10 years per hospital), in other settings — such as day surgery or ambulatory surgery — they’re far too common. One study suggested that fully half of all WSPE’s occur outside of traditional operating rooms.