Viet Kieu settles with Saigon Eye Hospital after four-year court battle

Thanh Nien News

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Huynh Huu Thong lost 40 percent of his vision due to complications that resulted from a cataract surgery he had in 2009. File photo Huynh Huu Thong lost 40 percent of his vision due to complications that resulted from a cataract surgery he had in 2009. File photo


An overseas Vietnamese man agreed to settle out of court with a local eye hospital after pursuing a malpractice suit for four years.
On Tuesday, Huynh Huu Thong (AKA Huynh Tom Vu) and the Saigon Eye Hospital agreed to settle out of court, news website VietNamNet reported.
During the trial, the 54-year-old Vietnamese American agreed to lower his compensation demands from US$85,000 to $46,700 -- which would cover his the cost of a corrective surgery he sought at a San Francisco hospital.
Thong had previously demanded additional compensation for lost income and the cost of his plane tickets to both have the surgery and pursue his malpractice suit.
Thong went to the Saigon Eye Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 on June 5, 2009 to have the cataract removed from his right eye.
Doctors decided to employ phacoemulsification, the most common and advanced cataract surgery technique available.
He was told to pay VND7.9 million (US$417) and guaranteed that he would see light normally four hours after the operation and his vision would be completely restored three days later.
But Thong said he was not able to see light four hours after the 7-minute surgery conducted by doctor Tran Pham Duy.
The next day, he was examined by another doctor at the hospital, who said his cornea had become inflamed and was referred to his surgeon.
Doctor Duy allegedly told him his condition was normal and scheduled a follow-up examination a week later.
While waiting, Thong visited another eye hospital in the city, which was never named in court papers.
Doctors at this second hospital gave him an ultrasound and said the operation had left him with cornea dystrophy.
They said the condition couldn't be treated in Vietnam, so Thong returned to the US, where doctors said his corneal cells had been severely damaged by infection and inflammation.
After a cornea transplant in the US, he returned to the Saigon Eye Hospital, which refused to compensate him -- arguing that he had become the victim of "rare" complications.
On July 7, 2010, Thong filed a lawsuit against the Thai Thanh Nam Company, which owns the hospital.
The HCMC People’s Court opened the first trial on the matter on April 18, 2012 but later halted proceedings to order a fresh investigation.
On March, 25, 2014, the court dropped the case after dismissing Thong’s complaint. Thong appealed the verdict.
On Tuesday (November 18), a representative of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine said the hospital was partly at fault for having failed to conduct a required ocular tension examination on Thong.

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