As I've mentioned, the lowlife employee who offered me info in exchange for payment (presumably now ex-employee) told me that OE's marketing team do nothing more than post spam on social media sites.
This likelihood is supported by the content on the LinkedIn page for Jack Maddix, one of Steven Taylor’s Manchester based marketing team, with Jack's listed experience including, ”Digital/Social - Social media management: strategy & content Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram CRM: email/SMS”
If they’ve had to resort to passing off their own employees as happy satisfied patients then Optical Express must have even more damaged patients than I thought!
This is of course misleading advertising, because - even if they have undergone surgery - there is no mention that any of these people are employed by Optical Express.
Deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst - but certainly immoral!
Lowlife insider told me that Jack Maddix is not the only OE employee amongst the 12 profiled patients, and true or not, it is certainly a question the ASA will be asking following my complaint on Tuesday.
So perhaps they do intend to pay the Daily Mail’s legal costs after all (story yet to be told).
As part of their rebrand ‘Dr’ Hilary Jones has replaced Stephen Schallhorn as OE’s consent video spokesman.
(Might not be their best move however, because if you Google "Hilary Jones Optical Express" up pops OERML!)
Hilary Jones is a true Judas goat, not least because he had his eyes operated on at the same clinic responsible for damaging Anneka Rice's eyes, and was paid to advertise the clinic who also freely (allegedly) operated on him!
Although, according to what was said on ITV's Lorraine (@ 1.55), Hilary’s eyes must have deteriorated quite soon after the surgery.
‘Slut’ is the most appropriate word I can find right now to describe the cheesy doctor in regard to his endorsement of absolutely anything he can earn money from - I have no doubt he’d advertise Catnip if he could persuade people it's beneficial to their health!
Quite ironic that Hilary also promotes a product he claims has been "proven" to help MGD, dry eyes, and blepharitis, alleging that he too previously suffered with MGD!
It should also be mentioned that Hilary is fully aware of the many problems suffered by OE patients (we first exchanged correspondence in 2013), and in February this year I questioned his ethics in relation to his support for the company.
He chose not to reply.
At the same time a number of damaged OE patients also posted on his Facebook page, and surprisingly the comments have remained - if you’d like to add to them!
After this week’s excitement, with the election results still the focus of most people’s attention, I intend to take a break until Monday.
In the meantime I'll leave you with one example of how unhappy patients are viewed by companies eager to take our money, but desperately avoiding responsibility when they leave us irreparably damaged!
Michelle was 28 yrs old when she underwent Lasik eye surgery in February 2012 with Panagiotis Theoulakis (aka Panos Theoulakis) - and if his operating skills are bad as his YouTube video then it explains a lot!
Left with post op problems, which included floaters, dry eyes, starbursts, glare, contrast sensitivity, also unable drive at night, Michelle had Lasik ‘enhancement’ treatment eight months later in October 2012, this time with Manek Patel.
For the record, I loathe the industry’s misuse of the word ‘enhancement’ to describe a retreatment, which is in fact an attempt to repair the first unsuccessful surgery: the primary surgery is surely an ‘enhancement’ according to the dictionary definition!
After Manek Patel’s repair Michelle was left with the same problems, including increasingly bothersome floaters.
In June 2014 I accompanied Michelle to a consultation with retinal specialist Miss Louisa Wickham, paid by OE, although Tweedles told Michelle it was ‘a goodwill gesture’!
Miss Wickham discussed a number of potential solutions to the floaters, including vitrectomy. But she explained to Michelle, that due to her age, there was a 6% risk of further visual complications, and a potential increased risk of developing cataracts if she did this.
I asked specs wearing Miss Wickham if she would ever consider refractive eye surgery herself, and - similarly to many other specialists I’ve also asked - she replied that her vision is too valuable!
Now aged 32, Michelle is likely to suffer these complications (described by the industry as 'side effects’) for the rest of her life, and unable to find lawyers willing to represent her for an expected small settlement, in January 2017 she issued a County Court claim against both Optical Express and Panagiotis Theoulakis.
Michelle also sent a Subject Access Request (SAR) to Optical Express…
Although they neglected to disclose all documents - including details of having provided Michelle with eye drops past the expiration date - amongst the docs she did receive Michelle was horrified to notice an email exchange between Tweedledum and Jan Venter, in which she was described by Jan Venter as "a difficult lady”!
• I don’t know who Jennifer Cameron is.
• Redactions courtesy of OE.
Tweedledum says how inspiring it is “to follow a patient’s journey and see their immediate reaction to improved vision gain.”
Interestingly he makes no mention of the reaction of the many thousands of patients whose vision was NOT improved, or of the hundreds of letters he sends to people like this every month, telling them the 12 months is up and no more free aftercare - no matter what they were promised when they handed over their money.
SARs are incredibly time consuming and costly for OE or any provider to collate, and for that reason alone I recommend it worth all patients paying £10 to get their personal information, if only to read what they’ve said behind your back after smiling to your face!
Also helpful if you’re in litigation, because information that is disclosed under your SAR - such as internal emails - is not usually disclosed in the course of a legal claim.
I trust the following extracts from the Optical Express finance meeting that David Moulsdale so kindly - if unwittingly - invited me to partake in last Friday morning are enough to end your day with a smile!
I joined the conversation when legal matters were under discussion, but because of the potential value to lawyers and those in litigation I am not publishing everything I learned.
David Moulsdale angrily told his colleagues present at the meeting, and I quote,
“[OE] lost FOUR MILLION quid this year…"
“We’re not busy, operating on sixty percent capacity…”
“I can’t pay the surgical team a bonus on less than ten patients day, we used to treat twenty, twenty-four patients a day… [blurred words] made four thousand a patient… retail price was more…”
“Got f*cking refunds, got f*cking complaints…"
David Teenan wasn’t present but he did get a name check from his boss.
And something I didn’t know previously, it’s not only OE surgeons optoms and sales people who are paid bonuses, nurses are too!
Not sure how ethical that is, but probably no longer an issue according to what David said,
"I’m not paying a nurse to treat less than ten patients a day - I’m not a f*cking charity, I’m not the NHS…”
“Ten patients is three hours work, no way I’m paying bonuses!”
“Four complex enhancements and three YAG a day… YAG should not be ‘treatment!’” (Presumably because bonuses are only paid on actual ‘treatments’.)
“Nurses not to be paid bonus on less than twelve patients… less than 15 patients - NO BONUS!”
Spitting out numbers he said,
“Twenty [£] at fifteen [patients], forty at sixteen, fifty at twenty…"
Then changing his mind,
“Twenty, thirty, forty…”
“They [nurses] going to make a f*cking fortune!”
It continued along those lines until the call suddenly cut off.
I know that many people - me included - have been shouting at their phone to see if Siri woud call someone that way.
If anyone has succeeded please let me know, because my only other theory is too far fetched!
I had intended to continue on today from my previous post (Going To Parliament topic), but changed my mind after a VERY unexpected phone call this morning!
So instead of ruining Russell Ambrose's weekend, I’ve ruined David Moulsdale’s
Remember the story of my entertaining meeting with the Three Bears, when David Moulsdale, Steven Schallhorn, and Tweedledum (aka Stephen Hannan), stepped into the tiny elevator at the Royal College of Surgeons (posted 10 March 2015) and came face to face with me?
This story is as good - if not better!
How many times have you said, 'I wish I was a fly on the wall’? Well today I was exactly that, but without wings, just a bizarre result of technological magic!
At 11.42 am my phone rang, and when I saw the caller ID I was as surprised as you probably are now! (Photo taken mid call)
Wondering what reason David Moulsdale could possibly have for calling me, because 1) he’s tried bribes and threats, 2) he knows I’m the Queen of Recording, and - unlike Russell Ambrose - is not so stupid to risk incriminating himself further.
With a smile in my voice I answered the call saying, ‘Hello?'.
No reply, so I repeated, 'Hello… hello... hello…’, but all I could hear were a number of Scottish male voices arguing.
I suddenly realised that - unless he’d decided to back Team Sasha and invite me to a very enlightening Optical Express finance meeting - David had not intended to call me!
I stayed silent...
Finance Director Stewart Mein was present, and I think I heard Tweedles squeak up at one point, though I'll have to listen again to be sure.
After thirteen minutes the line disappointingly went dead, and, while I would of course liked longer, David Moulsdale personally provided me with enough information to interest lawyers and other parties!
I immediately called him back, but after a few rings he sent me to voicemail.
Always a polite guest, I left a message saying how much I’d enjoyed the conversation. (I would not be surprised to hear that his phone is now in pieces!)
No-one can figure out how this happened: one suggestion is that if David shouted my name loudly enough Siri might have taken this as an instruction to call me!
I do intend to post some of the details I now have concerning OE’s (woeful) financial situation, and other info David so generously shared with me - regularly interspersed with the word 'f*cking’ - but not all details because they may be helpful to lawyers and anyone in litigation.
And while David and his playmates are desperately trying to remember what they disclosed during my unique experience as a fly on the wall for thirteen minutes, I’m not going to remind them.
I expect to continue smiling for the rest of the weekend thinking about the absolute chaos David's mistake will have caused this morning - for which he has no-one else to blame but himself!
PS: Some of you may recall the email I sent to Russell Ambrose in 2013, when I wrote, “I am going to f*ck this industry…”. David produced this to support his argument that the RCO should remove me as lay adviser from the RSSWG panel, but he falsely quoted me without the asterisk.
His friend Prof Carrie MacEwen would surely be shocked at David’s language, as the ex RCO president told Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and others that my singular use of the word (with asterisk) was a profanity, and included it in their spurious reason for removing me from the RSSWG.
My job can occasionally be a lot of fun, thanks to the industry’s spectacular own goals!
Having taken a quick look at some of his blogs, fluffy haired journalist Stuart Heritage appears to be an affable and inoffensive chap, but he's not too pleased with me after I responded to his online piece in yesterday's Guardian earlier today!
When he lied, in response to Professor Michael O'Keeffe's vehement criticisms of commercial eye surgery clinics, Steven Schallhorn - OE's IMAB chair and ex Global MD, now with Carl Zeiss - should have been struck down by lightning!
'We do not perform any procedures that would be inappropriate for the patient. Why would we?'
Mmmm... let me think Stevie, why would you?
And, 'He said contrary to what Mr O'Keeffe had asserted, a rigorous informed consent procedure is adopted and patients are fully informed about any possible adverse outcomes.
Dr Schallhorn said Optical Express clinics are run to the highest possible standards. They have an international medical advisory board [IMAB] of eminent doctors who oversee clinical governance of the clinics, and a rigorous quality improvement system examines outcomes.'
In fact, if there were any justice in our universe, all those complicit in weaving the tissue of lies that result in so many thousands of people left to live out their lives with ruined eyesight, pain, depression etc... would develop inoperable cataracts!
And I would personally be happy to take up laser eye surgery if I could practise on every person responsible for what's happened to my eyes - that includes members of the organisations who purport to protect people like me but unarguably do not!
NB: IMAB is 'international' only because most of its members are domiciled overseas. All members are paid by Optical Express to be on the board. www.opticalexpressgroup.com/imab