Surgical Error Causes Boy to Have Surgery on Both Eyes

In 2011, a four-year-old boy named Jesse Matlock received corrective eye surgery on the incorrect eye. Afterward, his parents were forced to take him to another specialist when it was discovered that Jesse’s surgeon, upon realizing her mistake, quickly operated on the correct eye as well.

Tasha Gaul, Jesse’s mother, revealed that it was uncertain whether there would be permanent damage to Jesse’s previously healthy eye.

The reason for the surgery was due to Jesse’s wandering right eye. The procedure of the surgery was to weaken the muscle at the bottom of Jesse’s right eye since the uneven strength of that muscle was causing his eye to wander. However, it was only after the procedure was completed on the left eye that the surgeon realized she had operated on the wrong eye. She sent a nurse out to inform Jesse’s parents that she was going to operate on both eyes, and the nurse quickly returned to the operating room before they could make any inquiries.

Jesse’s parents stated that the surgeon initially did not take responsibility for accidentally operating on the incorrect eye, and appeared to be trying to cover up the mistake. Eventually, she admitted that she had lost her sense of direction during the procedure because a nurse had mistakenly covered the mark she had made before surgery on the eye that needed correction.

Unfortunately, Jesse’s left eye began to wander after the surgery, and his mother claims that his right eye still does not appear to be fixed. Though Jesse seems to have normal eyesight, he has to have eye drops put in his eyes three times a day, as well as wear dark sunglasses to protect his eyes.

Though Jesse’s mother does not believe the surgeon to be a bad person, she stated that she filed a medical malpractice lawsuit to make the error known publically to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future.

Legal Matters

Surgical errors are also known as “never events” because they are errors that never should have happened. Ultimately, they are preventable mistakes made during surgery which can lead to injury, disability, and even death; which is why so many medical malpractice lawsuits are filed.

Legally, your doctor is responsible for informing you of all the risks associated with your surgery, and they need to have your informed consent in writing before operating on you. Therefore, if you wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to follow an established legal, medical malpractice protocol. It is of great importance that you consult with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer to guide you through this process, as these protocols differ between states and there is a statute of limitations that needs to be adhered to.

You will stand the best chance of winning your lawsuit if you hire a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney who can correctly guide you through the following:

  1. Contacting the medical professional involved to find out what went wrong and if it can be remedied
  2. Contacting the relevant medical licensing board if you do not get help from the medical professionals involved
  3. Finding out the statute of limitations so that you file your claim in time
  4. Getting a certificate of merit that states that your injuries were caused by the healthcare professional’s negligence
  5. Consider settling out of court, as medical malpractice lawsuits are complex, and can take a lot of time and money before they are resolved


If you think that you, or even a family member, may have been a victim of a surgical error, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC.

You can speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys by calling (800) 660-2264 for a free, confidential consultation.