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Lasik Disaster

I had lasik performed 9 years without a problem. Two weeks ago I decided to get a "touch up" on my right eye b/c my vision was getting a bit blurry. During the procedure, I got something called DLK (its a rare complication) and I my vision is super blurry now. It may improve on its own, but chances are I'll need another corrective surgery.

Has anyone out there contracted this or other "rare" complications with Lasik? Has anyone sued in California? I'm having a hard time finding an attorney familiar with this type of case. Thanks.

Mon. Mar 3, 4:56pm

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Honestly. I know this is horrible to have happened to you, but could you think a minute about the doctor? Even the most skilled, experienced surgeon will eventually mess up... he wasn't trying to screw up your vision, and suing him is just going to make his malpractice coverage rise! This whole "sue the doctor" bullshit is one of the things that's going to, in the end, help to screw over the health care system.
Just pause and think: Was it really the doctor's incompetence that did this, or was it (like the statistics say) a freak accident?

Monday, March 03, 2008, 5:29 PM

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Either way, i agree with the OP. Even if it was a freak accident... if you were hit by a car and paralyzed for life due to a "freak accident" wouldn't you more than likely sue? She/he is probably just trying to get money to HAVE the corrective surgery and she's the one that has to live with blurry eyesight because of someone's mistake? Now I agree that health care costs are rising because of this type and some people trying to get a free ride but that doesn't sound like the case here. Is she supposed to just come up with, what is it, like $1800 on her own to pay for the docs mistake?

Monday, March 03, 2008, 5:56 PM

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This is so typical ...asking about suing...very funny and somewhat typical

Monday, March 03, 2008, 6:06 PM

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My daughter has been bitten in the face twice by the same dog. The dog belongs to a neighbor. The dog is not generally vicious; the neighbors are generally attentive.

Neither time did I see any necessity in suing. So I can honestly say that no, I wouldn't more than likely sue, and I agree: the choice to sue should be based on evidence that the doctor was *negligent or malicious.*

Sometimes stuff happens. Even bad stuff. It's not always somebody's fault. I acknowledge that I can't live in a world where nothing bad ever happents, but I don't want to live in a world where blame must be assigned to everything--wayyyy too judgemental for me. Sadly, America at least it probably there already, but I choose not to contribute.

I'm sorry about the eye though. My husband had Lasik ten years ago and has noticed a little blurring, but then, I never had Lasik and I'm wearing glasses now. So he got a lot out of his surgery.

Monday, March 03, 2008, 7:13 PM

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Thanks for telling me of your adverse reaction to the lasik surgery. every once in a while I get tired of having to wear glasses, and think about having that procedure. Then one hears of the rare reactions, and I think, jeesh, glasses are a pain, but at least I have correctable vision. Any voluntary surgery is a risk. You can even die from a reaction to the sedative or anesthetic. You must be able to accept the gamble if you volunteer for it. Unless the doctor is incompetent, take responsibility for your own choice. That kind of surgery is vanity surgery. You lost the gamble. It was YOUR choice, the doctor didn't make you do it. He can't control your body's reaction to getting the cornea lasered...

Monday, March 03, 2008, 7:56 PM

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Comidenne Kathy Griffin also had Lasik problems. The attached is a link to the disscussion boards at her website about the same. Good luck OP, that's gotta suck. :(


Monday, March 03, 2008, 8:16 PM

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I'm the op and ironically - I am a lawyer but I don't practice medmal. I am personally not the litigious type - I defend poor people in court, that is my job. I don't want to hurt this doctor but in the research I have done and the second opinion I received it seems like it is rare if ever that people lose their vision as a result of this condition I have. Doctors are supposed to anticipate this problem and prevent it from getting to Stage Four - which is where I am at with vision loss. So, I do agree that this doc probably didn't cause my problem, but I believe she could have prevented it from worsening had she detected the problem the next day after surgery when I told her I was seeing cloudy and very blurry. This doc is not my gravy train - I just don't want her to do the next corrective surgery and I want at the least that she pay for another surgery to fix it. My bro is a doc and I hate whent people sue for just anything, but right now I am wearing a pirate patch to court and I believe she messed up. I'm supposed to leave this alone?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008, 1:40 PM

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If you can prove she did it maliciously or on purpose, then by all means sue until your blue in the face....otherwise, I think you're out of luck. They do advise you up front of the possible risks involved. You still decided to do it...I say, it's on you...unless like I said earlier, you can prove it. (which I doubt)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008, 3:07 PM

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And what lawschool did you attend?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008, 4:20 PM

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I am wondering why you didn't go to the same doctor you used the first time? And how much research did you do on this current doctor? Did you get referrals? As a lawyer yourself can't you talk to this doctor and tell her what your thoughts and complaints are and what you want the outcome to be? Have you told her you believe and have read that this could have been prevented? Have you asked why she chose not to do anything upon the day after visit when you told her your vision was blurring worse? I think you are to fast in your decision to sue, maybe talking to her first would be a better option, maybe she would be willing to pay for the corrective surgery by someone else, it would be a lot easier then going to court for her and you.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008, 3:25 AM

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Thanks for your comments - gives me a lot to think about.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008, 12:49 PM

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I suggest you take a second opinion

I suggest you take a second opinion before any surgery.

there are a few sites offering online consultation; queries replied by professional opthalmologist / lasik surgeons.


No harm in taking a 2nd opinion


Friday, September 05, 2008, 8:43 AM

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How horrible for you that a minor procedure that was supposed to improve your life left you witha (perhaps permanent) disabilty.

To all of those who got so high and mighty about not seeking monetary redress for the injury, maybe you should put a big piece of masking tape over one of your eyes for a day, and think about what your life would be like if someone's misfeasance robbed you of most of your sight in that eye. Are you going to need assistance in performing your daily tasks? Special equipment to help you do what you used to do without a thought? Perhaps at some point need a driver or other transportation if your vision continues to deteriorate?
All those things cost money. The victim should not have to pay for those costs - the person causing the injury or failing to prevent its exacerbation should.
And to the lady who didn't sue over her child's egregious second injury - I hope you can still sleep at night after the same dog injures or kills somebody else's kid b/c the owner didn't see any consequences for his actions. Your formerly pretty little girl going to be OK with her scars in high school? I understand plastic surgery costs a bundle.

Friday, September 05, 2008, 9:44 AM

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I'm sorry for your troubles OP. I think you are right to be upset. Now with that said, have you had a sit down with the doctor that performed the procedure? I'm sure that they would be very willing to accomodate you by possibly performing the correction free of charge, etc. Did they waive their fee for the first botched operation? These are things that I think any prudent practitioner should do to help sooth a patient who didn't have the expected outcome. But, it you don't go in there any actually talk to the doctor, you won't give them the chance to make such allowances. Let them know how displeased you are. I'm sure that this is an unpleasant occurance for them as well.

I second other's distaste for the prevalence of suing in medical situations. I think you only have grounds for litigation if the healthcare professional was negligent. Mistakes are just that, mistakes.......and every practitioner is going to make their share. I believe that they should not be made to "pay" for this unless they were again grossly negligent. People - when you undergo medical treatment you accept some responsibility because there are always risks!! You take a new medication, you risk an adverse reaction. You have surgery, you risk infection, and so many other complications. I am empathetic to people who have bad outcomes, but sometimes it is sort of just luck of the draw.
If you didn't get warned about complications then you have a basis for suing, but if you didn't read literature that they gave you with possible complications or you didn't listen with they told you the risks because you thought it wouldn't happen to you.....I think you have less basis for suing. I would in this case go to the doctor and try to come to a resolution with them. I really would think that they would be will to help you in any way that they can. I've had patients bring minor mistakes to me that others have made, and even if it wasn't my own error I feel nauseous and extremely upset. I would do anything to set it right, and I hope you doctor feels the same.

9:44 - your stance seems vindictive to me. I'm guess that you aren't in the medical profession.

Friday, September 05, 2008, 11:06 AM

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11:06 - wrong! If you've worked with medical "professionals" for a while, you begin to see which ones are for real and which ones are spending more time covering their butt than actually serving the patient.
And vindictive? No - you just can't go around injuring other people and get off scot free while they pay. Thankfully our system provides a method of redress - it's called litigation. When the same vicious dog bites TWICE, a successful court case can make sure the dog doesn't have that third opportunity to bite. Same with incompetent/careless medical providers. If they are serial mistake-makers, SOMEONE needs to call the halt.

Sunday, September 07, 2008, 5:13 PM

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op, I'm sorry that you've had trouble with your operation. I haven't had the surgery, but have had a consultation and in the future want to have it done. However, I plan on finding out if the surgeon has any malpractice complaints filed against them. Even if you don't want to file suit, think about the patients after you. I know that I wouldn't go to this doctor if he messed up. I understand that accident happen, but you said that this could have been prevented if the doctor followed up. The fact that he didn't shows negligence. Good luck.

Sunday, September 07, 2008, 7:29 PM

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DLK is always malpractice and preventable

While this an old thread this is indeed malpractice and I have never sued anyone in my life. I would sue for this though, it is always preventable. It basically means that when the lasik flap was put back down , there was a foreign object between the flap and cornea. It could be a piece of dead skin, dust, just about anything. It always presents itself within 24 hours. It is the bodies immune response to this foreign object that does all the damage. I do not know of any doctor that does not have a initial follow up within 24 hours. If you catch it early, you can relift the flap and irrigate. By two or three days the flap has to be lifted, scraped, irrigated and then you look the next day and see if you have to repeat this. If not treated it always leads to blindness. This really simple lasik 101 for any surgeon. You ALWAYS have your patient checked for signs of DLK within 24 hours of surgery. The earlier it's caught, the easier too fix. If caught within the first 24 sometimes you can just up the steroids and antibiotics. To say it is not the doctors fault is foolish. The surgeon did not irrigate properly and then did not follow up soon enough. To say otherwise is just plain ignorance. This is a rare occurance indeed because every surgeon is trained on the basics and this is lasik 101. DLK should NEVER happen if the doctor irrigates properly. If caught in time it is 100% treatable and you should never pay a cent for said treatment/treatments, meds etc. On the other hand if not caught and treated properly, then a simple surgery will not fix this totally avoidable complication. 5 years too late but instead of suing, your first thing would to seek a second opinion from a different surgeon. One that is at a teaching hospital. The fact that you are wearing an eye patch is shocking to me! You will go blind! You need daily lifting and scrapings. Stage 4 DLK is bad! Stage 1 and some Stage 2 can be corrected with medicines depending on how big the foreign object is but Stage 3 and 4 always require relifts. What you needed was an honest refractive surgeon. If your DLK has progressed to Stage 4 you need immediate intervention. It is no longer a wait and see thing. Your total bills for this could easily exceed$10,000. I have seen it firsthand. When the initial DLK is taken care of, your cornea may be so distorted that you have only one option. You have to leave the country and go to either Norway or England. They have lasers and technology that as of this post(2013) are not approved here. You will be farsighted because they are going to have to remove a lot of cornea to get it smooth again. Then you will be in glasses for your hyperopia. I have seen cases of DLK but never have caused one. This is not a rare complication, it is a bad surgeon. As for the people saying don't sue, this is how the screw ups of refractive surgery work. I get a call from a refractive surgeon who has something out of their league. They send the patient to me and I take a look. If I can help the patient I will. The surgeon who sent the patient to me will pay me directly for my services. If the patient sues them I encourage them to settle before a lawsuit is brought. They always give back the money they charged for the operation and if the patient has a lawyer then they cut a check for X amount for a botched surgery. This happens every day all over the country. The surgeon does not want a lawsuit on their hands. It sullies their reputation and most of them have plenty of money to settle out of pocket. There is a blue coat of silence and when these cases come in, you have to watch what you say. You don't badmouth another doctor in front of a patient. If you are called to testify, you say the exact same thing the OPs second opinion doctor did. You downplay it. Nobody ever loses their vision from this. No you don't but you can end up losing many lines of vision until you are legally blind. I seriously doubt you were at Stage 4 DLK. I can't believe you let it get as bad as it did. I can't believe that this still happened in 2008. You didn't pay a really cheap price for your surgery, did you? Like a discount chain? I really don't mean to come accross as crass but I have not seen a case of DLK in many years. Like I said lasik 101. Make sure the interface is clean and contaminate free before floating the flap.

Thursday, January 03, 2013, 1:45 AM

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