I met David Orton on 9 April 2013, when accompanying My Beautiful Eyes client, Jimmy B, to his consultation at the Optical Express 'Complex Cases Management' clinic in Harley Street.
NB: "Complex cases" is a euphemism for post op patients suffering problems they didn't have before surgery at Optical Express.
While sitting in the waiting room Jimmy talked very loudly to other patients, explaining why he was there, who I was, and advising everyone to look at the OERML website.
I always stayed quiet in the Harley St waiting room, because I knew if I approached patients Optical Express would use it as an excuse to prevent me accompanying my many damaged clients to their consults.
Jimmy caused chaos, with so many patients - pre and post op - wanting to hear more. Then I noticed two men in suits materialise, standing near the reception desk watching everything. Wanting it to be apparent that I had not encouraged the situation, having explained to people that I was unable to talk with them, I eventually escaped to the toilet to avoid being compromised.
When Jimmy and I left Harley St, on our way to the underground station we met David Orton and his wife shopping in Oxford Street. They told me all about David’s problems after undergoing bilateral lens exchange (RLE) in 2011, and Lasik on his right eye a year later. They explained David was getting nowhere, and Optical Express kept fobbing them off with excuses. I gave them my number and David said he’d call me, which he did a few days later. He became a strong MBE Campaign supporter as well as a My Beautiful Eyes client, and we spoke regularly.
On 10 May, OE’s lawyer, Rod Mackenzie (also an OE Director!!), sent an email claiming I had approached their patients and banning me from OE premises. (see Blog)
This backfired on OE as I then started organising demos, which attracted the attention of people outside the clinic as well as those already inside!
30 July ’13: I organised a demo outside OE’s Harley Street clinic, date chosen because David and another campaigner both had appointments with Dr Jan Venter, but David didn’t turn up.
At around 4pm David called me with the devastating news that he had inoperable terminal cancer. He had been told that morning, but said he hadn't called me earlier as he didn’t want to upset the demo!!
With his permission I sent the following email to Optical Express CEO, David Moulsdale:
"Subject: URGENT!! Re David Orton: Central ID 60542454
Date: 6 September 2013 15:10:04 BST
I have my client's permission to discuss the following with you as I see fit.
Mr Orton cancelled his appointment at Harley Street with Jan Venter on 13 August after receiving devastating news the same morning.
He has terminal and inoperable cancer with a life expectancy of only months, not years.
Obviously he will not be undergoing further eye surgery and the least of his problems is taking legal action against your company.
Given the tragic circumstances I think it reasonable that you refund Mr Orton's £2,990 payment without further discussion, without the need of any 'gagging order'.
I also suggest you don't allow Hannan or Mungall to call my client again as neither are particularly emphathetic and I don't think it appropriate they disturb or upset him.
Perhaps you could email Mr Orton yourself and advise you will refund his payment as a goodwill gesture?!
Who knows, I might even say something nice about you on OERML ;)
David Moulsdale simply passed this onto his Clinical Services Director, Stephen Hannan (aka McOptom/Tweedledum), and Customer 'Care' Manager, David Mungall (ake Tweedledee), who responded in a way that not only sickened me, but will always serve to remind me of the absence of empathy and duty of care given to any patient unlucky enough to walk through the doors of Optical Express.
Fitting perhaps that David Orton always referred to McOptom as "Piggy Hannan”.
Rather than simply refund a dying man a paltry £2,990, Tweedledum and Tweedledee persuaded David to waste one of his precious remaining days to travel from his home in the West Midlands to see Dr Jan Venter (Professor Venter as he was known then, until I complained to the ASA who ordered OE to remove all spurious ‘Professor’ references from their advertising).
Dr Jan Venter told David he was unable to do anything because of the cancer treatment he was receiving.
David's health deteriorated rapidly and by December he was resident in a hospice.
David Orton died on 22 December 2013.
The last time we spoke was a week earlier, when David told me I should do whatever I wanted with the details of his story as there were no options left to him at that point.
Meanwhile, my thoughts are with David's wife Sue and their family at this painful time.
31 December 2013
I have wanted to update this page for a long while, and because of today's post on Facebook (see pig’s head https://www.facebook.com/OERML), decided this was the time to do so.
It is no secret that I despise Optical Express (and others) for their unconscionable treatment of people, and I will continue to fight until one of us is defeated. However, it is thanks to my fight that I am privileged to meet some wonderful and inspiring people who I would never have known otherwise.
David Orton was one such person.
When he discovered that I would regularly not eat breakfast until midday, because once I started answering emails I forgot all about food, David would often call to check I had eaten.
And when faced with the greatest adversity of his life, he continued to be supportive, calling me from the hospice, asking if I’d had my breakfast!
I often smile and think of David when I’m eating breakfast at midday, knowing he'd be scolding me!
David will always be a part of MBE and I know he would be cheering me on.
I will never forget David Orton...
Shame on you David Moulsdale, for treating a dying man so deplorably!
1 March 2015