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Hospital to pay NT$10 mil. indemnity to blind man

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou was ordered to compensate a patient surnamed Wu to the tune of NT$10 million for causing blindness in his eyes after a surgical procedure, the Taipei District Court said yesterday.

According to the court's verdict, a doctor at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital did not inform Wu, 63 years old, about the potential risks associated with the eye surgery, and ruled that the hospital must compensate Wu for causing his blindness as a result of the surgical procedure.

According to the testimony collected by the court, Wu's statement said that he went to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital eight years ago to seek treatment for his swollen eyes, and a doctor there told him that his symptoms resulted from hyperthyroidism, which could be corrected through small-scale eye surgery.

Wu said that after the surgery, his eyes did not respond to light, and a further diagnosis confirmed that he had lost sight in both eyes.

According to Wu, the doctor not only failed to inform him of the potential risks associated with the surgery, but also neglected to inform him that he could decline to undergo the surgery.

Wu also accused the doctor of applying inordinate pressure to his optic nerve during the surgery which led to the loss of his eyesight, and pressed for compensation of over NT$12 million.

According to the verdict, the doctor said that he did, in fact, tell Wu that if he did not undergo the surgery, he might lose his eyesight, and he also claimed that he had informed Wu about the potential risks of the surgery.

However, prosecutors' investigations showed that the doctor did not fully explain details of the surgery to Wu, preventing Wu from receiving enough information to properly decide whether to undergo the procedure.

The court said that Wu's blindness resulting from the surgery has caused Wu mental and physical pain and irreparably affected his life, and ordered the hospital to compensate Wu for NT$10 million in damages.

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