While preparing for an upcoming LASIK malpractice trial in Atlanta, Georgia, Todd J. Krouner returned to teach trial advocacy the week of May 3, 2010 at his law school alma mater, Emory Law School. It was the third consecutive year that Mr. Krouner was invited to join the faculty of Emory Law’s Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques. See http://www.law.emory.edu/academics/academic-programs/trial-techniques.html
On May 7, 2010, Mr. Krouner took a break from judging the law students’ jury trials, and walked across the street to the Emory Medical School. There, he addressed medical residents in ophthalmology on medical-legal issues.
Mr. Krouner reviewed with the ophthalmology residents the basic rules and definitions concerning medical malpractice, including the application of the statute of limitations in LASIK and other related eye surgery malpractice.
He identified the types of cases he had handled, including negligence in failing to diagnose ectasia, keratoconus and other cornea irregularities; failing to calibrate and maintain the surgical lasers and equipment properly, resulting in a cornea injury known as central islands; failing to use a safe and effective medical device, such as Alcon’s Ladar Vision 6000 surgical laser, which was recalled by the FDA; the surgeon’s or his staff’s failure to enter the correct numbers, or prescription, in the surgical laser; performing multiple surgeries or enhancements resulting in two cases of hyperopic (far-sighted) ectasia; and failing to monitor a patient using steroid drops, resulting in optic nerve damage and steroid-induced glaucoma.
Mr. Krouner cautioned that doctors should not be aggressive in selling LASIK services to their patients. Frequently, he observes that when one doctor warned a patient that he was not a good candidate for surgery, and another doctor disagreed, more often that not, the first doctor was right, and the patient was not happy with the outcome.
Second, he warned doctors not to alter their medical records. While this would seem obvious, he stated that he had two cases where the doctors spent more time doctoring the chart than doctoring the patient. In one case, the doctor’s insurance company claimed it no longer had to insure him. In the other case, the jury awarded a record $3,000,000 for the patient’s pain and suffering.
Third, in view of the widespread injuries caused be Alcon’s defective laser, Mr. Krouner stated that LASIK surgeons need to take responsibility for the medical devices that they select, and make sure that they are functioning properly.
Finally, as suggested by the medial literature, repeated eye surgery is a recipe for disaster. Even though the Emory faculty (Drs. Doyle Stulting and J. Bradley Randleman) published the only article on one reported case of the condition of hyperopic ectasia, Mr. Krouner observed that he had two such cases in his practice. In one case, the surgeon had operated on the patient’s eye 11 times. In the other case, the patient was operated on four times. Neither case ended well for the patients.
Finally, Mr. Krouner cautioned that doctors should neither abandon nor avoid patients with complications following eye surgery. Contrary to the fear of most doctors, injured patients do not want to sue. On the other hand, when patients feel that they are not getting honest answers, or doctors refuse to turn over their records, patients get suspicious or angry and seek legal counsel.
If you have been injured by LASIK, LASEK, PRK or other refractive eye surgery, please contact the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner for a free consultation. Mr. Krouner has extensive experience with LASIK malpractice cases throughout the United States, has obtained the two largest verdicts in the history of LASIK malpractice, and was the only patient’s lawyer to testify before the FDA in 2008, when it had hearings on LASIK complications. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.