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|09 Oct 2016 22:55 #23|
Researching something else earlier, I found details about solicitor Paul Burton who was left with post lasik problems after being operated on by Dr Anupam Chatterjee at Ultralase Chester clinic in 2000.
Suffering severe blurred vision, and problems driving at night, the side effects Paul describes are exactly the same as thousands of us continue to suffer after laser eye surgery sixteen years on - so much for new improved laser technology!
Sickeningly, a source from the defense team told the Manchester Evening News, 'Mr Burton takes eye drops which allow him to drive and if it was that bad he wouldn't be driving’!
'He is the first LASIK surgeon to appear before the GMC and the case could have wide ramifications for the LASIK industry if he is found guilty.'
Indeed, so no surprise then that the GMC cleared him of serious professional misconduct!
I know of only one complaint to the GMC from a damaged laser patient when any action was taken against the surgeon responsible.
In 2005, children’s author and illustrator Jan Fearnley had lasik surgery also at Ultralase. The surgeon Dr Haralabos Eleftheriadis irreparably damaged Jan’s eyes by tearing her cornea leaving her with irreversible scarring and blurred vision. He then lied when she complained about her poor vision, saying that she was mistaken and imagining it!
'Jan tried to find other victims over the internet but was later told she was the only person in the country to have the problem.’ (Not far off what Russell Ambrose told me in 2011)
The GMC ruled that Dr Haralabos Eleftheriadis’ actions were ‘inappropriate, unprofessional and not in Mrs Fearnley’s best interests’. However, they did not suspend his registration, or take any other action, after Eleftheriadis agreed to training and supervision.
Meanwhile, Anupam Chatterjee is now 'the Responsible Officer for Optimax laser eye clinics and in charge of revalidation of their doctors.’
|05 Oct 2016 22:53 #22|
Other than both being elective I do not accept that there are 'many similarities' shared by refractive surgery and cosmetic surgery!
Cosmetic surgery changes how you look, refractive surgery changes how you see
And do please tell which of our 5 precious senses is altered by cosmetic surgery?
Yet according to the GMC, 'Laser and refractive eye surgery share many similarities with cosmetic surgery and we would consider these to be covered within the scope of this guidance.'
Dawn Knight however definitely shares one similarity with damaged refractive eye surgery patients, as you'll understand when you hear her story!
'Mr Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the RCS, said people should do their research and think twice before opting for a cosmetic procedure.'
If Steve is at the RCOphth meeting next week (he's part of the RSSWG) I'll be sure to repeat this back to him and ask why he doesn't say the same about refractive eye surgery!
|17 Sep 2016 14:59 #21|
In response to my complaint to the GMC that documents requested under my FOI request were withheld and/or redacted, yesterday Julian Graves, Information Access Manager, wrote that he was satisfied that redactions were ‘accurate and appropriate’!
Accordingly, I sent my complaint to the ICO this afternoon.
This involved cross referencing GMC documents with those sent to me from Optimax in response to my SAR.
Amongst the GMC docs I was shocked to find an Optimax internal email from Dr Wilbert Hoe, written 3 weeks and 4 days after my surgery on 18 February 2011 - 3 weeks according to the Hoe, who obviously has a problem with numbers!
Perhaps why my eyes are irreparably damaged!
• The Hoe admits he offered me lasik OR lasek just before surgery - contrary to ALL guidelines. I was therefore, by his own admission, not fully consented.
• As I never saw him again after surgery I fail to understand how he was able to comment that I had ‘good distance vision although slightly hyperopic’!
For the record, ‘good vision’ meant that I could have seen the Eiffel Tower from my house if I’d known where to look (not any more), but in exchange I had unwittingly sacrificed my perfect near vision! That, and the starbursts, are probably my most mourned losses!
• The Hoe's claim that he gave me ‘a detailed explanation of MMC' is a total lie and sickening!! The truth is that he literally thrust the 2 page document in front of me, with no chance to read, and asked me to sign it.
• ‘Presbyopia due to her age' - I had PERFECT unaided close up vision pre surgery!
I couldn’t be more devastated about the state of my eyes, but when I read the Hoe’s email I was speechless - and given how I’m feeling right now he should seriously consider relocating back to Burma!
NB: I have no idea who Janice Ireland is
|14 Sep 2016 19:20 #20|
Lack of transparency runs through the GMC like a stick of rock
Following my GMC complaint in 2015, on 21 July 2016 I received this, 'We have finished our investigation into your concerns about Mr Hoe and the case examiners concluded that we do not need to take any action against his registration.’
As I intend to appeal this decision I sent an FOI request a few days later and received documents on 9 September.
Not only have they failed to provide information I know they have in their possession - not least because some was referred to in their response to my original complaint - but the redactions are simply astounding!
The GMC Information Access Manager responsible called me on Tuesday, when I warned him that they have until Friday to provide ALL documentation I am entitled to, without unmerited redactions, otherwise I am opening a complaint with the ICO.
Re the expert 'Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon' who reviewed my complaint against Dr Hoe: in the same way that Bernie Chang was involved in the MPlus X lens MHRA investigation, employed by Optegra who themselves fitted the lens (his ID inadvertently revealed by Bernie himself), the anonymity of such experts is a serious bone of contention with me given the incestuous nature of this industry.
'We are unable to provide you with the identity of the expert who provided a report for the GMC as to do so would be in breach of the DPA.’
It should be considered that, in my case, there are few ophthalmic surgeons who do not know of me, and I know most of them. Therefore, surely I have the right to know who reviewed my complaint?
After all, it could have been David Teenan, or one of the many other surgeons I have named and shamed!
The anonymous expert wrote, 'In this case, slight over-correction into a hypermetropic refraction has caused Patient A (me) significant distress.'
My current reading prescription is now +4.25(R)/+3.75(L), and I can see nothing clearly without glasses. I also suffer multiple debilitating side effects, including MGD, glare/starbursts, photophobia, DES, etc…
Pre surgery I had no visual problems - not even DES - with perfect unaided near vision, and I wore glasses for distance, prescription -4.25(R)/-4.00(L)
'SLIGHT OVERCORRECTION' MY A**!!!
The expert also wrote, 'In terms of her refractive surgery I would have said that Lasek would be the most appropriate for Patient A rather than intra-ocular surgery.’
Uh?! What relevance does IOL have to my complaint? (Although, I was fifty seven when I had lasek, perfect age for lens exchange according to all who sell it!)
• 'In summary, Patient A has been counselled by optometrists employed by Optimax Laser Eye Surgery specialists who have processed her application and allowed her to progress to meet the ophthalmic surgeon, Mr H on the day of surgery, therefore minimal amount of counselling with the ophthalmic surgeon has been undertaken. This is contrary to the Royal College Guidelines and standards for laser refractive surgery. Information for patients should be in written format in language that they can understand along with specific risks and complications associated with this surgery. For this reason this fell seriously below the standard expected of a reasonably competent ophthalmologist/refraction surgeon.'
• ‘The overall standard of care was below the standard expected of a reasonably competent ophthalmologist carrying out refractive surgery due to inadequate patient preparation and detailed consent. The lack of written clinical history and formal discussion of potential post-operative problems fell seriously below the standard expected. When considering the additional consent form brought in at the last minute and the inability to prepare or deal with the over-correction, patient expectations were not met therefore Patient A was inadequately prepared prior to the surgery.'
• 'I trust that this explanation is sufficient and in my opinion the only breach of care that I can identify is inadequate counselling for consent and consent for the refractive surgery part being supervised by someone other than the surgeon undertaking the work, although the separate consent form for Mitomycin C has been supervised by the surgeon. However, its introduction as a last minute level of consent is inappropriate and does not conform to good medical practice.'
• 'The combination of these practises fell below and seriously below the standard expected of a reasonably competent ophthalmologist/refraction surgeon.'
And the GMC closed my case - just as they have every other complaint made by damaged refractive surgery patients!
As I have told GMC staff on numerous occasions, they are not fit for purpose!
Sickeningly, the expert relied on the Royal College of Ophthalmologists 'STANDARDS FOR LASER REFRACTIVE SURGERY 2009' as reference - currently being rewritten by the RSSWG, the panel I was appointed to as lay representative in May 2015 but subsequently removed from in June to keep David Moulsdale happy!
In fact, I now understand that the College Trustees used David’s complaint as an excuse to remove me, as none of them wanted me involved in writing new standards.
GMC, CQC, RCOphth... no words to describe what I think of them - that I can publish here that is!
|25 Jul 2016 15:35 #19|
Reading through the case details of the GMC Decision I noticed this, ‘Optimax’s CEO reported no other concerns… She said…'
‘She’? Surely a typing error, because Optimax CEO is Russell Ambrose - I thought!
So I called the GMC, who surprisingly advised me that documents sent from Optimax were signed by Beata McManus as CEO.
I have had no dealings with Beata and had never heard of her, until last year when she was mentioned in emails sent to me from disgruntled Optimax employees, and in a number of forum posts here on OERML, none of which I published because I am unable to approve posts that include unsubstantiated and salacious allegations.
I checked her Linkedin page, and sure enough, Beata McManus is listed as 'CEO at OPTIMAX Laser Eye Surgery Specialists’:
She's come a long way since starting at Optimax in 1992:
The GMC now have my FOI request, and when I receive all the documents I look forward to reading what Ms McManus has written about me, especially given that she has never met me!
|22 Jul 2016 21:41 #18|
16 November 2015,
This morning I finally received the decision from the GMC re my complaint against Optimax surgeon (Dr Wilbert Hoe) who irreparably damaged my eyes on 18 February 2011.
Two months overdue, the GMC apologised for the delay a few weeks ago, explaining that my case was still with the case examiners. I wasn’t surprised as they of course know who I am - and what I do with any information I consider to be of public interest!
The decision is as I expected, the same one everyone receives in response to their complaint against the surgeon who damaged their eyes!
It might sound odd, but I’m ecstatic with this decision!
I have been openly critical of the GMC for a number of years, anxious to expose the organisation as 'not fit for purpose'… and inadvertently they’ve now opened a can of worms that I will use to my advantage and publicise in every way I can!
I have nothing but praise for the ‘Independent Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon’ instructed by the GMC to provide an expert opinion. (I have asked for his/her name to be provided.)
Had I not settled out of court with Russell Ambrose but instead gone into litigation, with this as a medicolegal report I have no doubt that I'd have won the case on the grounds of lack of informed consent alone, as did Stephanie Holloway v Optical Express/Joanna McGraw!
At a later date I will publish the report in full, but until then, a few examples of the expert’s opinion - who was very critical of the high street industry:
• Mr H’s pre-operative preparations appear to be minimal and there is no record of Mr H obtaining an adequate and appropriate history.
• The limited amount of discussion pre-operatively meant that Mr H did not adequately counsel Patient A (me) regarding her surgical expectations. This unfortunately is the standard practice in the high volume environment of Laser Refractive surgery which distorts the concept of a patient consultant discourse that results in a management policy. The practitioner turns up to activate the laser as others, less qualified, have assessed the patient and their ability to pay for the procedure. Therefore, the discussion on management falls seriously below that expected of a consultant ophthalmologist.
• The pre-operative consent was as already indicated not entirely obtained by Mr H and what was obtained by Mr H was a last minute alteration to management and certainly did not conform to the Royal College Guidelines and good medical practice for refractive surgery.
• It would appear that very little discussion was conducted post-operatively with Mr H, most of the discussion has been with the management and optometry staff within Optimax. This lack of post-operative communication and support falls seriously below the standards expected of a consultant ophthalmologist.
(NB: I met Dr Hoe for the first time on the day of surgery and have had NO discussion with him since)
• Mr H’s records are of a personal nature non-existent, he has depended entirely on Optimax records which are in the main pre-populated lists and boxed answers which attempt to remove the need for adequate clinical history and assessment within a case like this would appear to create an inadequate series of clinical records. The lack of clinical comment in the written form is a serious lack of standard, which in this case falls seriously below the standard that is expected of an independent practitioner working in this field...
• As the consent appears to be countersigned by a non-medical professional and consent for Mitomycin C (MMC) was immediately prior to treatment, these activities fell seriously below the standard expected of a reasonably competent ophthalmologist/refraction surgeon.
It goes on, with the expert highly critical of the practices within the high street industry.
In their 'Reasons for decision' section, the GMC noted, 'We do not underestimate the distress Ms Rodoy has experienced. Her complaint about Mr Hoe (essentially that he did not check she understood the risks associated with her treatment) is serious. Her evidence about this is largely contradicted by the records and, in particular, emails from Mr Hoe and the optometrist who saw her.*
The expert’s criticisms appear to be as much about the laser refractive surgery industry as about Mr Hoe and, if the expert’s description of industry practices is accurate, we are concerned that the expert may have assessed him against an unrealistic benchmark** for purposes of our decision.'
*I have seen no such emails and have asked the GMC for copies. If they exist Optimax were legally bound to disclose these to me under my SAR last year.
**Speechless - these are my precious eyes we're talking about!
The final paragraph states, ‘Further, we do not consider that there is a realistic prospect of a finding of impairment solely in order to maintain public confidence in the profession.’
Oh dear, that doesn't inspire confidence or trust in the GMC!
There are major flaws in the fourteen page report and I am challenging their decision.
In 2015 I also lodged a complaint with the GOC against Optimax optometrist Swati Malkan.
The GOC similarly dismissed my complaint against Ms Malkan, who wrote that she had no recollection of meeting me, and - I quote, ‘I do not recall Patient A (me) and hence am reliant on my notes of the examination…'
Her five page response to my complaint was a pack of lies, obviously written by Optimax’ in-house solicitor, mostly detailing information she claimed was given to me before taking my money, that I’d been fully informed of all the risks etc…
In my (unsuccessful) appeal I pointed out that if Ms Malkan didn’t remember me then how did she know what she had discussed with me!
I have no idea how it entered the GMC investigation (I will find out), but a retrospective statement from Ms Malkan includes this, 'I remember this px v well as she stood out… In the staff room during lunch we were discussing this px as she had given a hard time to everyone involved.’
Ms Malkan has undeniably lied - to both the GOC and GMC (and of course to me in 2011)!
I have spoken with both organisations and look forward to further investigations asap