Having previously discussed Wayne Crewe-Brown’s medico legal consults with Holly and Veronica Luby-Hoey, and mentioned an unscrupulous ambulance chasing London based law firm (hereinafter referred to as ‘UAC LLP’), the following paragraphs are taken from four of WC-B’s medico legal reports - a small selection of his highly (hypocritical) supportive and positive criticism of Optical Express' consent process, that he avoids discussing with claimants at their consultations
1. 'Surgery lists in the co-management clinic chains tend to be very busy and it would be beyond the capabilities of the surgeon, given their caseload, to start the consent process from scratch with every patient.’
'The informed consent process in this case demonstrates the overlap that exists within a co-management system like Optical Express. Much like the situation that exists within the Cataract Service within the NHS in England, where one non-surgical Ophthalmologist or Nurse may consent a patient for another surgical colleague to undertake the surgery on a completely different day, with that surgeon assuming that the consent process was robust and complete.’
• At all times the operating surgeon is responsible to ensure that the patient has proper and fully informed consent, and whilst it should be considered that the nhs.uk only provides surgery for medical needs, I have NEVER been consented by anyone but the operating surgeon before undergoing surgery of any kind with the NHS!
• The term ‘non-surgical ophthalmologist’ is misleading, as all qualified ophthalmologists are able to perform surgery, whereas an optometrist or nurse is definitely not. And having recently discussed this with an NHS consultant ophthalmologist, he confirmed that he would not allow anyone else to provide consent for his patients, and has never come across a nurse doing this in any of the hospitals where he has worked.
2. 'At the time of this case Optical Express employed trained Laser Optometrists to carry out the detailed consent process which was relied upon by the treating Ophthalmic Surgeon. The Professional Standards set by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the professional body of Ophthalmologists in the UK at the time, were recommended and not mandated at the time of the index surgery.'
• The The Royal College of Ophthalmologists are NOT regulators, that is the GMC's remit. So quite telling that WCB has not quoted the regulator's rules on consent, which include:
’29. In order to have effective discussions with patients about risk, you must identify the adverse outcomes that may result from the proposed options. This includes the potential outcome of taking no action. Risks can take a number of forms, but will usually be:
• side effects
• failure of an intervention to achieve the desired aim
3. 'Optical Express, like many refractive eye surgery clinic chains throughout the world, functions as a co-managing organisation…’
• WC-B should only be concerned with the UK and General Medical Council (GMC) guidance - ‘throughout the world’ a diversion, and totally irrelevant.
4. ‘In my opinion there are no grounds for the allegations of Clinical Negligence by the Defendants in this case. There is ample evidence, as detailed above, that the pre-op assessment, consent process and surgical procedure were carried out to the highest professional standard and in so doing they passed the Bolam Test.’
• Yet, following the Montgomery ruling in 2015, it has been made clear that the Bolam test does not apply in consent cases, as confirmed by the leading medical defence union:
'For the purposes of consent, the ruling from Montgomery replaces the previous tests founded in Bolam.'
In 2019 I accompanied two more #MBEF clients to consultations with WC-B, who I’ll refer to as ‘Carol’ and ‘Joe’.
Again, both consultations were recorded.
Carol told WC-B that her complaints included pain, discomfort, starbursts, poor quality of vision, dry eyes, light sensitivity - and 'repeat corneal erosions’.
WC-B ‘forgot’ to mention the erosions in his written report!
He told Carol that the visual disturbances she now suffers are highly unusual after Lasik, claiming that iDesign treatment usually eliminates or diminishes these.
Better I make no comment on this utter nonsense!!
When WC-B confirmed Carol’s medico legal consultation was over, I asked why he hadn’t discussed consent, reminding him that he had done so with Holly in 2016.
Ambushed, he ceded, ‘Seeing as you brought it up…’
Carol then described her consent process in minutiae, but I’ll only mention a few points here.
WC-B: ‘Reading was a very big issue in terms of consent. They should have asked you to read with your glasses ON during the consultation…’
Carol replied that she couldn’t as they’d put the drops in before the consult.
WC-B: ’This should have happened before the drops’!
Carol went on to describe the sales process, and WC-B laughed, 'Where have I heard this before…’
Continuing, she explained how quickly OE offered a discount when she expressed concern at the cost. WC-B groaned and grimaced...
She also told him that there was no video available, as OE claimed she had seen.
But none of this was mentioned in WC-B’s written report, padded out with irrelevancies.
Wayne Crewe-Brown is a bullsh*tter, his reports spun to suit OE’s agenda every time.
And I have his true opinion of OE’s consent process in three of my recordings - from his lips to my phone - in total contradiction to what he writes in his reports!
Which brings me to UAC LLP...
It should be noted that the majority of the hundreds of refractive surgery clients represented by this firm (current and previous) have a conditional fee agreement (CFA) aka 'no win no fee’.
After The Event insurance (ATE) covers the legal costs and expenses involved in litigation, and if a claim is lost at trial then the insurers will pay the costs. Hence 'no win no fee'!
Consequently however, if their solicitor bullies them to accept an insultingly low offer from OE the client has little choice.
Even if they have a strong case, keen to go to trial (lead to believe they will), UAC will refuse, threatening to tell the insurers that they won’t get a better offer in court, which means the insurers withdraw the ATE cover, leaving the client without legal representation, and UAC demanding their (extortionate) fees from the client!
NB: I have numerous copies of UAC LLP emails to support this fact.
This firm knew that I had recordings of WC-B’s consults with Carol and Joe, much of the content contradicting his written reports (complaints made to GMC), but when both clients initially told their respective solicitors, the response was astonishing.
They did not want to hear the recordings, adamantly refusing to challenge WC-B’s reports!
I discussed this with three lawyers from different firms, all who agreed with my opinion that these discredit OE’s medical expert and strengthen the claimant’s case, that they would have immediately contacted the defendants with the recordings, who they’d expect to respond with a decent settlement offer by return.
Instead, UAC LLP did their utmost to discredit me with lies, told Carol that she must drop contact with me, that she was risking her settlement otherwise (a pittance of approx 12k minus 25% success fee to the lawyers)...
But when Joe refused to be similarly bullied, and insisted that they asked me for a copy of the recording, the head of the medical negligence department had no option but to do so, adding, 'Please do not send me the recording for Carol. We do not want to disclose the meeting.’
Oops too late! And I trust they disclosed this to OE?
It is a solicitor's duty to help a client achieve the best possible settlement. But it is my opinion, and that of many of their clients, that this is not happening with UAC LLP, who appear to have their own agenda, with their fees wildly disproportionate to the shockingly low settlements they intimidate clients into accepting.
And they become a little coy when clients have the audacity to ask for an interim summary of their case costs, happily and often voluntarily provided by other firms, as clients are entilted to this even with a CFA.
Please note, that whilst of course all law firms are in it for the money, I want to be very clear that I know some very good solicitors, who actually care about their clients, and do their utmost to fight for the best result. They are not all unscrupulous ambulance chasers!
There is a lot more to tell about UAC LLP, and I may continue later...
Suffering problems after refractive eye surgery, the victim’s first response is likely to be panic, followed by blind faith [sic] when the perpetrators reassure you with lies: 'some people take longer to heal, your dry eyes will get better, the starbursts will go away, your brain needs to adjust, give it time, blah de blah…'
And after 3/6/9 months with no improvement, they might say that you need an ‘enhancement’ - a term that angers me, because the initial surgery was surely to 'enhance' your vision!
(But if they haven't done this by 12 months your aftercare will have expired and you'll be asked to pay just to see an optom!)
As time goes go by the grim reality hits you, but often only after undergoing further damaging ‘enhancement’ surgery: like Craig, trusting the doctors knew what they were doing, he underwent a total of SEVEN ops (laser & lens exchange), each one causing more problems that left him worse off than when he started.
Even for those victims ‘lucky’ enough to find a law firm who will represent them on a ’no win no fee’ basis, there are a number of hoops to jump through before a settlement is hopefully reached. And as with most services, there are good, bad, and dishonest law firms - over the last nine years I've had dealings with all three kinds representing #MBEF clients.
Then comes the biggest hurdle, finding a medico legal expert, one who can be trusted to write an honest report - which is not easy, because the majority of expensive experts sell refractive surgery themselves and don't want to damage their cash cow, so just like lawyers, there are good, bad, and dishonest experts…
The defendants also instruct their own medical expert, and the claimant often has to attend two consultations.
As a patient advocate I've accompanied many MBEF clients to medico legal consults, as I did with ‘Holly’ in August 2016, the first time I met Wayne Crewe-Brown.
Without having met Holly, instructed by Optical Express and based on their evidence, WC-B had provided a written report, on the back of which OE had made a ludicrously low offer.
Luckily Holly had excellent legal representation, a lawyer who accepted her client's instructions, refusing all offers below 100k.
Still refusing their incrementally increased offer of approx £92k, OE then insisted that Holly see WC-B in person, no doubt expecting him to discredit her own medico legal report.
But Holly’s eyes were bad, unable to tolerate the slit lamp light when WC-B examined her eyes, whilst he was visibly nervous with my presence, even though I didn't say a word.
Confirming that the consultation was over we then chatted - at length!
WC-B was quite a gossip, and highly critical of OE’s consent process (recorded boys!)
And he should know, having continued to work for Optical Express at the Rosen Eye Clinic in Manchester, after David Moulsdale bought it from Emmanuel Rosen.*
WC-B’s second report altered course, concurring with much of what Holly’s own medico legal expert had said, and she got her £100k.
At that time WC-B owned a laser eye surgery clinic in Ireland -
- and the second time I met him he had changed teams, instructed by an Irish law firm representing Optical Express claimant Veronica Luby-Hoey.
Again I recorded him criticising OE and their consent process, and more
Unfortunately Veronica’s lawyer dropped her case, not least thanks to WC-B referring her to his colleague Michael O’Keeffe, who provided an additional report damaging to her case.
Bizarrely, O'Keeffe then started writing medico-legal reports for OE, previously one their fiercest critics:
'Mr Michael O’Keeffe, consultant at the Mater and Temple Street Hospitals in Dublin, claims some of these clinics operate on the basis of "stack 'em high and sell’ em cheap" and are selling what is a complex and sometimes hazardous procedure as if they were selling “cans of beans or handbags.”
As for Wayne Crewe-Brown: 'He moved on from Optilase in 2016 to concentrate more fully on his growing [lucrative] medico-legal practice...
Mr Crewe-Brown currently produces approximately 200 reports per annum, and has attended Court on five occasions within the past two years.'
I accompanied two more MBEF clients to their medico legal consultations with WC-B in 2019.
Instructed by OE on both occasions, he was again critical of the company, and unfortunately for Wayne Crewe-Brown, I recorded these consultations, because the subsequent content of his reports was far from the truth!
And I'll be telling you more in the second part of this post next week - about WC-B, his reports, my recordings, and an unscrupulous ambulance chasing law firm.
Paul Rosen was the joint expert in Stephanie Holloway’s case, scolded by the Judge for not disclosing his connection to OE, and whilst I have enormous respect for Judge Bailey (now retired) who is a very clever man (Judges not all so clever, and I've been in court with enough to know!), I did not accept that Paul Rosen had 'forgotten' about his connection with OE, as he claimed at the time.
For the last few years, medicolegal 'expert' Wayne Crewe-Brown has mostly been instructed by the defendants, notably Optical Express, presumably because he found it more lucrative than writing reports for claimants