Worried that even one story would make it past the lawyers to print today, we've ended up with two, this one in the Scottish Mail on Sunday
We held our breath for this one, because when given the right of reply, especially with Sunday publications, Optical Express will wait until the eleventh hour before their lawyers challenge a point, or say they haven’t had the patient's authority to discuss their details, and the story has to be held back.
OE have done this many times over the years, the article eventually dropped, with the press being super careful following OE's £21.5 million dead in the water claim against Associated Newspapers Ltd (now DMG Media Ltd).
OE paid out more than £1 million in legal costs, but not before ANL came to an agreement that in future they wouldn't publish any articles mentioning me. I didn't believe this when I was told, but sure enough it was true.
However, the Daily Mail and sister publications are likely to regret this in the not too distant future...
But this time everything was covered, Sam’s letter of authority sent to Tweedledum (aka Stephen Hannan) et al, copied to press lawyers, and her story made it to print!
What journalist Marcello Mega prudently omitted from the article, which could also have delayed/stopped the story, is that Sam’s surgeon was Dr David Teenan, OE’s very own UK Medical Director.
David Teenan has numerous legal claims against him (a number previously settled out of court), yet The Royal College of Ophthalmologists pandered to David Moulsdale, Optical Express CEO, and appointed Teenan to the Refractive Surgery Working Group, responsible for revising the (unenforceable) College standards in 2016.
This article from the Herald Scotland in 2016 explains the above - even quoting me!
As regular readers know, also at Moulsdale’s behest, the RCOphth removed me from my nominated position as Lay Adviser to the Working Group, just one of a number of reasons I believe the Royal College is not fit for purpose, and should have their charitable status removed!
Meanwhile, David Teenan exhibits utter contempt for the patients he has damaged, mocking them by posting an image of Harry Potter character Mad-Eye Moody on his Facebook page, shockingly ‘Liked' by fellow ophthalmologist Professor Christopher Liu.
Liu still not made it to president! He should have remembered the old adage, lie down with dogs...
However, Dan's not new to my Wall of Shame, he’s been mentioned numerous times before!
Dan Peedell first contacted me in 2014, but thanks to a medicolegal expert who supported the Reinstein Cowboy (aka Dr Blindstein courtesy of Boris Johnson), his case was dropped by lazy cherry picking lawyers.
After seeing the very ruffled Reinstein on This Morning show last October, interviewed by Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, when Dr Dan had refused to appear with me - or indeed anyone who challenged him (scroll back for details) - Dan Peedell contacted me again, and I introduced him to a journalist.
In print at last (and I’ll publish hard copy pics later), but Dan would like to point that although he did have Lasik, it was not the blended vision version that Carol Vorderman had - twice, after the first lot ‘wore off’ and she needed a second fix.
He was swayed to have the ops after reading positive online reviews and watching Philip Schofield and Dan Reinstein on This Morning in 2011, when Philip had laser eye surgery, and ITV providing yet another priceless advertorial for this unregulated and corrupt industry.
Dan Peedell to me in 2014, 'The London Vision Clinic reviews from patients were superb and I couldn’t find any negative comments about them. Their website was also really informative which put any fears to rest. The celebrity endorsements also helped make my mind up.'
Will This Morning now react responsibly, do the right thing, and invite me and Dan to present the other side of the story to the millions who’ve been fed only positive and biased promos for refractive eye surgery by this show over the years?
Because still the Daily Mail refuse to mention Sasha Rodoy, My Beautiful Eyes Foundation campaigner calling for UK government regulation of the refractive surgery industry, and patient advocate representing many thousands of victims since 2012!
Comments under the online article are moderated, so let’s see how many truthful negatives are allowed!
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how daytime TV shows react to this news item, especially This Morning after their biased advertorial for Dan Reinstein recently!
Maybe Piers Morgan has the balls to take this on and interview me
Catherine Froud to This Morning producer Caron Kemp - the day BEFORE the show was broadcast
Your decision to not allow Sasha on ‘This Morning' has really angered me. The truth about the refractive eye industry needs to be heard.
My partner Greg who is now 33 years old had laser eye surgery in 2016. He was given the wrong procedure, in fact he should not have undergone any procedure but his laser clinic didn’t care to tell him that. They also didn’t tell him the risks and that fact he was in a higher risk bracket than some people. I know this because I was with him for his consultation and every appointment after all but one.
He had big dreams for the future, he wanted to be a professional boxer. He was a carpenter, he was a very sociable, life of the party sort of the person. Now he’s none of these. He’s now a father who has never seen his sons face. He’s severely photophobic, he suffers from chronic pain every minute of the day, we are almost certain he has corneal neuralgia. He takes a concoction of pain killers to take the edge off the pain and who knows what damage they are doing to him.
Greg sits in a dark bedroom the majority of the day because he can’t stand being in light. We have no life anymore and I am his carer. He claims benefits because he can’t work and last year before our baby was born he tried to commit suicide because he couldn’t stand living like this anymore.
Please see photos of Greg after one of his surgery’s to try and correct the damaging effects laser eye surgery had on him and when I gave birth and he held our son for the first time and he was crying because he couldn’t see him. I have also attached a photo of me and Greg when we were happy and we had a great life ahead of us. Now we don’t know what it will be like, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. Every day gets harder and harder.
I’m so upset and angry that ‘this morning’ will not let the truth be heard, not just for Greg but also for the thousands of damaged patients out there struggling daily because of laser eye surgery. By not letting Sasha on you are allowing thousands of people to hear a biased one sided view of a corrupt laser eye surgeon and I’m sure the case study you are providing will be so weak that he will dismiss it like it’s 1 in a million chance of it happening. Well it’s not!
Thanks for standing by to allow more people be damaged by this awful industry.
News Producer Caron Kemp called me on Tuesday, and after discussing my work she asked if I would guest on This Morning on Friday, to talk about laser eye surgery
BUT - then I discovered that Ruth Langsford was host (with Eamonn Holmes), and surgeon Dan Reinstein the other guest!
And as most of you know I’ve publicly criticised both, (deservedly), so couldn’t see either of them wanting to risk sitting next to me for fear of what I might say.
Caron followed up our conversation with this message re Dan Reinstein, 'Thanks Sasha - do you know this man? What are your thoughts? I have to be clear that this is a health item and not a debate so we do need to tread carefully.’
I replied, 'Totally understood Caron - this appearance is too important to me to jeopardise!
Any rules you want to make I will abide by - no names, no personal criticism. I promise I will tread VERY carefully, and stick to talking about the lack of regulation (my priority), the lack of fully informed consent, with very real risks underplayed and often not explained to ppl pre surgery - esp when staff are working on commissions!
My work involves far more than wearing a T shirt and protesting, it is about helping damaged Px and getting the message out to those considering surgery that they should look beyond the glossy advertising, and ’This Morning’ will open the floodgates to show other chat shows that they can invite me on without worrying that I’ll say things I shouldn’t!
Dan Reinstein operated on Philip Schofield and Carol Vorderman, and a number of other celebs. He is a showman and loves media attention - ie free publicity.
He’s one of the very few high profile consultants that I haven’t met in person, but I have no problem sitting next to him, and give you my word that I will not enter debate with him. I will simply state my own experience of laser eye surgery, and convey my message to viewers that they need to look at the real risks, and appreciate that refractive surgery is not something to be done in your lunch hour. It’s a decision that should not be taken as lightly as changing your hairstyle.
A bad haircut will grow out - damaged eyes are for life.'
Early yesterday morning, Suzanne called me for in depth details about my own surgery, and my work… and at the end of a very lengthy call, I agreed that I would talk only about this, and my campaign for regulation, that I wouldn't mention any names (clinics/surgeons). She told me she'd check with the producer that she had all they needed, and would also talk with their lawyers in case there were any more issues to cover, and she'd call me later to arrange the car to collect me on Friday.
So far so good, and at this point I allowed myself to think there was a slim chance this would happen after all.
But at 6.18 pm, a call from David, ‘the producer has decided to go with another case study’!
My response was curt, I hung up on him, and emailed Caron Kemp...
I was called late this afternoon to be told, ‘the producer has gone with another case study’!
Devastated, but not the least bit surprised, as it happens every time.
And for the record, to date, there has been no balanced cover of refractive surgery, only positive advertorials: no serious interviews with damaged patients, and no mention of the many thousands turning to the NHS when their 12 months aftercare with private providers runs out.
After filming a detailed interview for BBC BBC Rip Off Britain in 2017, just before it was broadcast they told me they’d run out of space, so no mention of me or my campaign, while they used two of the weakest case studies I provided to ‘balance’ what was no more than another advertorial, heavily weighted in the industry’s favour.
Since late 2014, Optical Express have paid Luther Pendragon (Crisis management PR) £5,000 per month to discredit me and keep my campaign out of the press/media. But with no mention of OE they had no right of reply, so I hoped This Morning would break the pattern.
I'd very much appreciate the reason I was dropped from the programme, because I am this country’s lay expert on the refractive industry, and no-one knows as much as I do. Which is of course why I’m repeatedly silenced. (And I would not be surprised if Ruth or Reinstein objected to my participation if they were informed in advance).
The sad thing is that I truly had intended to keep to my word and stick to the script, because This Morning would have opened the floodgates for more appearances to advertise my campaign and highlight the dangers of the unregulated refractive surgery industry.
However, as that’s now not going to happen, let me answer the questions you asked yesterday, 'do you know this man? What are your thoughts?'
Ask Reinstein about his own damaged patients, some my clients, about Anneka Rice (her eyes ruined and allegedly paid off to keep quiet) - and importantly, if he claims to support regulation, ask him what he’s done to support my eight years of campaigning? Zilch!
In fact, Reinstein was paid to put his name to the FODO standards, conceived and funded by Optical Express, who refuse to accept the (unenforceable) RCOphth standards. See P26: Expert panel
NB: FODO standards are not recognised by any organisation, incl GMC/RCOphth/CQC/GOC, as all have confirmed to me in writing.
He claims this is a myth, ‘You have to wait until your prescription’s stable’!
It is widely acknowledge by the industry that an unstable prescription is a contraindicator to surgery, while Dan has contradicted his own advertising, 'A fluctuating contact lenses or glasses prescription is an indication that you may not be ready for Laser Eye Surgery.'
So much more I could tell you about this man, known to his peers as the Reinstein Cowboy, with his spurious use of ‘Professor’ highly criticised.
However, I was prepared to avoid all of these issues for the chance to be heard, but yet again I have been silenced, while Reinstein will convince ppl that your 'case study’ is rare (whoever they are), encouraging thousands more to risk their eyesight as he promotes his own cash cow.
I look forward to your response before I publish the details of yet another cancelled TV appearance."
When Caron saw my tweet this morning, she called me almost immediately - having the cheek to ask me how I was, and that she didn’t know what had happened.
But when I asked her to be honest and tell me the reason I'd been dropped, she claimed it wasn’t confirmed that I was appearing, that she had said she'd call me today because she was off work yesterday.
Oh please! I pointed out that her colleague Suzanne had called me yesterday, and what she’d said, that she would be calling back to arrange a car to collect me on Friday. I said a lot more - amazingly managing not to swear - and hung up on her too.
I had to bite my tongue when both Caron and Suzanne told me they needed to make sure it was a balanced piece, because there has been ZERO balance when Reinstein has appeared time and time again, on ITV and BBC, promoting laser eye surgery, with some of the presenters even getting free surgery from him.
I hope as many of you as possible will watch tomorrow, and then send in your complaints to ITV, because I guarantee there'll be no mention of My Beautiful Eyes Campaign for government regulation, or of the countless copy/paste letters from health ministers denying there's a problem, or of the many thousands of people who've come to me for help over the last eight years - and keep on coming - and the increasing cost to the NHS.
It's also a guarantee that Dr Reinstein will make the segment yet another advertorial for laser eye surgery!
Simply a sickening PR exercise, with recent advertorials also claiming laser eye surgery is safer than wearing contact lenses - bullsh*t!
Contact lenses can be taken out, damaged eyes are for life! While CL problems are usually a result of poor hygiene.
And whilst some people have had their eyes taken out as a result of laser eye surgery (google "OERML Can you Go Blind"), there is no technology I know of that has developed an artificial seeing eye - and before someone argues and mentions bionic eyes, these work via the natural eye.
This recent plague of advertorials slating contact lenses suggests that the only available choice of vision correction is laser or contact lenses.
But how about sticking with glasses - the ONLY option for many thousands of us after undergoing laser/lens replacement surgery.
But whilst OE fronts these numerous advertorials, I don't believe they have the money to finance this campaign, so the million dollar question is, which BIG industry player would benefit from increased laser eye surgery sales?
Hey Tweedles! Why don’t you publish the true scale of the problems suffered by your customers after laser and lens exchange surgery at Optical Express, with full disclosure of the numbers of complaints and legal claims - current and settled?
'We all have choices in terms of vision correction, whether that’s to wear glasses more often or get laser eye surgery.'
Bad enough that the Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers Ltd) agreed not to publish any stories mentioning me or My Beautiful Eyes Foundation campaign calling for government regulation, but now they’re giving OE free advertising!
“In response, Optical Express has launched a new program to make their users aware of such environmental issues and offer advice on alternatives to using disposable lenses, such as having eye surgery or wearing glasses more frequently.
'Think of all the plastic that would be saved if the 4.2 million UK contact lens wearers chose to have laser eye surgery,' Mr Hannan commented.
'In the long run, eye surgery is better for the environment, better for your pocket and better for your eyes.'”
Both papers of course owned by Associated News Ltd, who made an agreement with OE not to publish anything that mentioned me, so every time a well intentioned journalist includes a quote from me, I can guarantee it will be edited out before going to press!
NB: I will update this post later when online link to publication is available.
And thank you to Karen Taylor for agreeing to speak to the press.