Lawsuit: Chicago doctor operated on wrong eye, did 2nd surgery in recovery room

CHICAGO RIDGE, Illinois -- A suburban Chicago eye surgeon is being sued for medical negligence, medical battery and assault for allegedly performing surgery on the wrong eye and then trying to correct his mistake by performing a second surgery in an non-sterile environment.

Without her glasses and when exposed to bright light, 21-year-old Sutton Dryfhout gets bad headaches and double vision. Her eyes have not been aligned correctly since 2017, when she said Dr. Benjamin Ticho, with The Eye Specialist's Center in Chicago Ridge, performed routine surgery on the wrong eye.

"We went through the consent, it was going to be a left eye cyst removal and left eye muscle fixing, and we both initialed it," Dryfhout said.

Dryfthout said to make sure, Dr. Ticho marked with a pen above her left eye. But after she woke up from surgery, in the recovery room, she said she felt a scratching burning sensation in her right eye. Her left was perfectly normal.

"I woke up instantly and knew the wrong eye hurt," she said. "There were blood-soaked tears coming from the right eye."

The next thing she knew, Dr. Ticho returned and decided to perform a second surgery on the correct eye in the non-sterile recovery room. While awake, Dryfthout said Ticho injected a needle in her eye.

"Then he brought scissors up as well and started cutting into my eye," she said. "I didn't know what was happening. He didn't have gloves on. I didn't know where these instruments were coming from."

In a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court this week, Dryfthout alleges the instruments came from another patient's tray. Dryfthout said she yelled for him to stop, but Dr. Ticho kept the surgery going.

Mom Denise Dryfhout knew something had gone wrong when she saw her pale daughter in recovery with trauma to both eyes.

"As I was trying to get her to see if she is OK, he was pushing a clipboard at me and saying we need to amend the consent, " she said.

On the form, she said Dr. Ticho had crossed out "left eye" and wrote in "right eye."

"You don't get to change the consent after you have done the surgery," said Valerie Leopold, Sutton Dryfhout's attorney.

The lawsuit also alleges Dr. Ticho called Dryfthout following the surgeries and suggested she get tested for HIV and hepatitis since he used non-sterile equipment for the second surgery.

Sister station ABC7 Eyewitness News in Chicago reached out to Dr. Ticho and the Eye Specialists Center and have not gotten a response.

The lawsuit also names Colette Major and her practice, Midwest Anesthesiologists Ltd., as defendants and charges them with negligence. Midwest Anesthesiologists is based in Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Representatives for Midwest Anesthesiologists and Advocate Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Both Ticho and Major have active licenses as surgeons and physicians, according to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation records. Neither of them has ever been disciplined by the department.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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