|LASIK SOS||Is There a Doctor in the House ?|
Worst-Case Outcome --
LASIK Surgery Performed by One of the Most Experienced Refractive Surgeons in the Industry - TLC Newport Beach LASIK/all-laser-LASIK surgeon Doctor Thomas Tooma.
What follows is an appeal made by me, Roger E. Bratt, after meeting a patient who had been severely injured by a highly experienced refractive surgeon. It was like coming across a car accident at the side of the road, with all the cars whizzing by, and no one stopping. Then taking the injured person to an emergency room, only to be told, "Oh ... we don't treat people like that here."
Posted on January 6, 2000
at the Online Forum of the Surgical Eyes Foundation.
To all my fellow post-ops.
and concerned doctors ...
That came to a crashing halt
on Feb. 1, 1999.
* 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day of "eye-time." Julie can see a Snellen eye-chart. Unfortunately, the act of reading causes her extreme pain after more than a few minutes. This pain takes hours and sometimes days to subside.
* Persistent pain in both eyes, which is exacerbated by the use of the eyes. That's 24 hours a day -- 11 months after the surgery.
Some of the ideas I have heard about the conditions accompanying Julie's ocular condition are "Debris under the Flap" and "Nerve Damage."
In the movie "the Sixth Sense", where Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist who tries to help a young boy who can see ghosts, there is a most compelling scene played by the young actor. At a moment when Bruce Willis is equivocating about whether he can help the young boy, the young boy's eyes well up with tears, and he says ... "How can you help me if you don't believe me ??"
Some doctors don't even believe Julie's symptoms are real. A doctor for the insurance company which makes her disability payments suggested that it might be "in her head."
Having known individuals who abused the workers' comp. system, I understand the concern that insurance companies have about funding the long-term vacations of California slackers. It is most clear to me that Julie's current situation is the furthest thing from a vacation. It is also very clear that Julie is no slacker, as evidenced by the plaque which now sits at her previous place of employment, a grim reminder for her former co-workers of the happy, vivacious woman who disappeared from their midst early in February, 1999.
I am determined to see that happy, vivacious woman return. If it is true that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger, then, in a few years, when Julie's future is more clear and -- HOPEFULLY -- the most appropriate medical solutions to her dilemma have been found and implemented, then Julie will be one very, very, VERY strong person.
In Julie's case, her symptoms are very real. Though un-named, they have transformed her life, in a very dark manner. Though she has trouble seeing, Julie, like all of us, needs to be able to visualize her future, and to have moments of carefree, happy joy. Right now Julie's future is hard to visualize, even for myself, as a friend who is functioning as her secretary to spare her the new torment of reading and writing.
To have a LASIK surgery performed by an experienced refractive surgeon, and to then be introduced to the world of Braille, Optacons, community van services for the handicapped, talking books -- etcetera -- may accurately be characterized as a Descent into Living Hell.
I have met Julie. I
have my own post-operative foreign-body sensation and new cross-eyed-ness
to deal with. Julie met me because the Los Angeles KCBS affiliate
did a recent 2-part "special" on LASIK complications -- thanks to Ron !!
-- and I was one of the interviewees. As I sat there with my eye-patch,
worn to achieve BCVA, (and to increase the humidity around my left cornea)
and my empty tubes of 30 weeks worth of eyedrops, and my sombrero hat,
worn to <edited>, Julie opened her eyes, and saw a familiar sight.
Julie has her own bag of eye-drops, her own eye-patch, her own hats.
But Julie's situation caught me a little off-guard.
In short, folks, I am looking
for both doctors and motivated LASIK post-ops. who agree about one fundamental
goal: WE HAVE TO HELP JULIE.
1. In acting as the
patient's occasional secretary and chaffeur, I thought it appropriate to
protect the patient's privacy. Therefore, although the patient is
very real, "Julie" is an alias, named after one of my own friends, an employee
at Kaiser who tried to help me get fitted with some prism eye-glasses,
for the crossed eye and double vision which manifested after my own LASIK
Roger E. Bratt
Copyright 2002, 2003 Roger E. Bratt