LASIK Blog


Get A Will!

May 19th, 2016

Last month, rock star Prince Rogers Nelson, known to us simply as “Prince,” died without a will, or in legal terms, intestate.  Prince was not known simply for his extraordinary musical and artistic skills, but also for his extraordinary insight as a businessman in the music and entertainment industry.  Thus, it is stunning that, without a will, he leaves his financial affairs in shambles.

Prince’s death without a will highlights a significant problem nationwide.  A recent survey reveals that 64% of Americans do not have a will.  That poses at least three significant problems.  First, the Court, rather than the decent, will decide who inherits the property of the estate.  Second, if there are minor children, the Court will appoint their guardian, rather than the decedent.  Third, depending on the value of the estate, and where the decedent lived, needless taxes, known as estate (or “death”) taxes, may be paid to the federal and state governments.  Under Minnesota law, Prince’s estate will likely be divided evenly among his six siblings, and a special administrator, has been appointed by the court to manage his estate.  The Court-appointed special administrator will be a person who has had no prior relationship with the decedent, and does not know anything about the decedent’s wishes.

Under New York law, if you die without a will, the Court is required to distribute your estate as follows:

If the Decedent has…

then

a spouse (husband or wife) and no children the spouse inherits everything
children but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse and children the spouse inherits the first $50,000 plus half of the balance. The children inherit everything else.
parents but no spouse and no children the parents inherit everything
siblings (brothers or sisters) but no spouse, children, or parents the siblings inherit everything equally

 

If you are comfortable with this default plan, you do not need a will.  By contrast, if you wish to tailor the statutory / default plan to your own circumstances and preferences, then a will is essential.

Many people who do not have a will avoid the subject because the discussion of their death is uncomfortable or they fear that making a will somehow will accelerate their death.  Neither excuse is a sound reason to leave your estate in chaos due to a lack of planning.

As a distinct but related point, the New York State Department of Health advises everyone over the age of 18 needs to appoint a health care agent.  A simple power of attorney or health care proxy document could save money and property for those in that person’s family who really need it, but only if that person’s wishes are memorialized in those documents before the worst happens.

Having a plan is always a good idea.  Having a Court decide who gets the fruit of your lifelong labor, who cares for your children, or who makes vital healthcare decisions for you when you can no longer speak for yourself is a poor default option.  Do not procrastinate.  Please let us know if we can help you and your family with your estate planning.

With 22 years of big city experience and small town service, the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner is well-equipped to handle most estate plans.  A boutique law firm which prides itself on client service and commitment to excellence, our office provides a personal touch that can only be maintained by a small but dedicated staff.  Our personal service is essential given that most people are not familiar with the court system and must rely on their lawyer to properly advise and represent them.  We invite you to contact us at (914) 238-5800 or by e-mail at info@krounerlaw.com.

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The Most Important Insurance You Can Own – Get SUM!

April 28th, 2016

For most of us, the greatest risk that we assume is getting in a car on a daily basis.  According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014, there were more than 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States.  Those accidents resulted in approximately 2.3 million injuries and more than 32,000 fatalities.    

Consequently, a little known insurance coverage may be the most important form of insurance that you can secure for you and your loved ones.  New York State only requires drivers to carry minimum liability coverage limits of $25,000 per person.  Unless one is ‘lucky’ enough to suffer at the hands of a high net worth individual with a large insurance policy, recovery for serious personal injuries will likely be capped by the negligent driver’s inadequate insurance coverage.  SUM coverage can make the difference between substantial dollar recovery and an inadequate recovery. 

The cost of SUM coverage is small.  Depending on the amount of primary auto insurance that you purchase to insure strangers whom you might injure, the cost of SUM coverage to protect you and your family from strangers who might injure you ranges from $25 to $150 per year.  While costs may vary depending on the drivers, location, and type of vehicle insured, a survey in the Metro-New York area reveals the following modest annual cost for SUM coverage:

SUM Coverage Additional Premium*
$25,000 $25
$100,000 $50
$250,000 $125
$500,000 $150
*The additional premium refers to the added cost of SUM coverage assuming that you have an equal amount of liability insurance.  That is, if you paid $850 per year for $500,000 of liability insurance, the additional cost of $500,000 of SUM coverage would be $150.

 

Early in my career, I was confronted with two similar cases.  They had two very different outcomes, only because one client had SUM coverage and the other did not. 

In the first scenario, a husband and wife parked on the side of a busy street by their synagogue during the Jewish High Holidays.  As the wife was walking along the street, an 80-year old grandmother came speeding down the road and struck her.  The wife sustained serious pelvic injuries and endured a significant stay in the hospital. 

In the second scenario, a man was crossing a Manhattan street in the crosswalk, with the light, when he was struck by a taxi.  The taxi dragged him down the street, causing a debridement injury as his flesh was separated from his bones.  The poor man received hyperbaric chamber therapy and endured his own long and expensive hospital stay and a painful recovery.

Both of the drivers who caused the accidents were effectively judgment-proof after their $25,000 liability policies were exhausted.  However, in the first scenario, the woman recovered $500,000 under her own SUM coverage policy through her husband’s car insurance carrier.  In the second scenario, the man, who lived in New York City, did not own a car, and did not have any SUM coverage.  Thus, his recovery was limited to the taxi’s meager $25,000 insurance proceeds.

As these examples illustrate, SUM coverage is not limited to accidents between motor vehicles.  It also covers any accident involving a motor vehicle.  It covers pedestrians and bicyclists hit by a car.  It can also cover “hit and run” circumstances.

To make a claim for SUM coverage, you must first provide timely notice of your claim to your insurance company.  Second, you must obtain the full insurance proceeds from the negligent driver.  Third, your SUM coverage must be greater than the amount of the at-fault driver.  Fourth, you can then proceed with a claim against your own SUM insurance provider.  Unlike the typical car accident, which requires a lawsuit, the SUM insurance policy typically requires arbitration if you and your insurance company cannot agree on the value of your claim.  Finally, with any payment, the SUM insurance provider is entitled to an offset or reduction for any payment that you receive from the at-fault driver.  So in the first example, the pedestrian first had to recover the full $25,000 from the 80-year old driver who struck her.  Then, she was able to recover on her husband’s $500,000 SUM policy that amount less the $25,000 received, or $475,000.

Insurance companies are in the business of collecting your hard-earned premiums, and then denying your claims. I sue them for a living, and I hate to send them business.  When it comes to personal financial planning, one size does not fit all.  But for most, given the inherent risks and frequency of driving a car, SUM insurance is among the most important insurance coverage that you can buy.  Get SUM!

The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping personal injury victims.  If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, and you wish to determine if you have a strong case, please contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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The Super Bowl – - LASIK – - And Professional Athletes

February 1st, 2016

Roman Harper is a safety for the Carolina Panthers.  In the NFC Championship game, a headshot left him temporarily blind in one eye, with his corneal flap from LASIK surgery dangling unhinged. He says his LASIK flap has been re-attached and he will be ready to play in the Super Bowl. Click here to read SB Nation’s article about the incident.

Mr. Harper is fortunate.  His experience serves a reminder that the corneal flap cut in LASIK never fully heals.  I ask victims of LASIK surgery what motivated them to assume the undisclosed 50% probability of dry eyes, diminished night vision, or light phenomenon like glare and halos.  Many say that they wanted LASIK to be free of glasses or contact lenses for sports activities.   But LASIK is contraindicated for head blows.  Boxers should not have LASIK.  Mr. Harper’s experience reminds us that LASIK is not a good idea for football players.  The same is probably true for soccer, rugby and hockey players, among others.

One last warning.  We rarely hear about bad LASIK outcomes for professional athletes (other than Mr. Harper’s).  It is not that they do not exist. Rather, professional athletes cannot complain. We know that from the NFL’s concussion experience.  First, players want to play.  Second, they do not want to risk their lucrative contracts by complaining about blurry vision or the glare and halos coming off of the bright stadium lights.

Whether you are an amateur or professional athlete, take note of Roman Harper’s vision threatening experience.  Think twice before trading contact lens for LASIK surgery.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by eye doctors (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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“Almost Everyone” Is Not A Candidate For LASIK Surgery

March 17th, 2015

In the “Health” column of the March 17, 2015 Journal News, the newspaper provided a half-page infomercial for a Rockland county LASIK surgeon who is promoting himself, and the supposed safety of this elective, cosmetic vision-altering procedure.

First, the article offers no news.  Second, the article properly should be marked “advertisement.”  Third, if the Journal News wishes to serve its readers, the reporter should warn of the hazards of LASIK surgery, even if the surgeon does not.

Morris Waxler worked for the FDA in the 1990’s.  He has called for a moratorium on LASIK surgery.  He says, “If I knew then what I know now, I never would have approved the lasers used for LASIK surgery.”  LASIK surgery involves cutting a corneal flap.  That severs corneal nerves.  50% of LASIK patients will suffer from dry eye.  The cutting of the flap will likely diminish night vision, in good cases.  Consumer Reports states that nearly two-thirds of LASIK patients said they “were disappointed to find that they still had to wear glasses or contacts at least occasionally.”

Contrary to the “news” story, it is false to state that “Almost everyone is a candidate.”  Persons with pre-existing corneal disease, such as keratoconus, are not good candidates.  Persons with pre-existing dry eyes are not good candidates.  Persons with thin corneas are not good candidates. Persons who care about their quality of vision, and not just their visual acuity, are not good candidates.  Persons who think that they will not need reading glasses after LASIK are not good candidates.  The list is limited only by space.

Finally, if you are thinking about LASIK surgery, do not ask a LASIK surgeon who is in the business of selling LASIK; do not ask a lawyer like me, who has seen everything that can go wrong in LASIK go wrong.  Ask an ophthalmologist, such as a glaucoma specialist, who does NOT perform LASIK surgery, what he or she thinks of the procedure.  I doubt that the answer will be nearly as fluffy as was suggested in the Journal News infomercial.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by eye doctors (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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One Doctor’s Excellent LASIK Results Tell Us Little About Patient Safety and Satisfaction For The Masses

December 2nd, 2014

A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic reports that the overwhelming majority of physicians who had LASIK surgery were satisfied.  The study notes that nearly 1 million patients have LASIK, or some similar form of corneal surgery (i.e., PRK), each year, and that 95% are satisfied.  “Just” 2% of the physicians reported “severe problems.”  Click here to read the study.

One obvious problem with the Cleveland Clinic study is that it is limited to the singular success of one LASIK surgeon, Ronald R. Krueger, M.D.  I know Dr. Krueger.  He is an amazing surgeon of great skill, education and integrity.  But it is dangerous to extrapolate his distinctive success to the nearly 1 million patients per year who do not have the privilege to consult Dr. Krueger as their LASIK surgeon.

What is the true success rate for the general population of LASIK patients?  Who knows.  Six years ago, in 2008, when I addressed the FDA, it promised a study on LASIK safety.  Six years later, we are still waiting.

It is hard to reconcile slanted industry reports of 80% patient satisfaction with a 2013 Consumer Reports study that found that “nearly two-thirds said they were disappointed to find that they still had to wear glasses or contacts at least occasionally.”  Click here to read the Consumer Report article.  It is also hard to reconcile the supposed 95% patient satisfaction rate with the image of the entire FDA LASIK Advisory Panel wearing glasses. (If only I knew how to take a selfie when I addressed that panel six years ago.)

If you still want LASIK, go to Dr. Krueger at the Cleveland Clinic.  If you cannot, ask to see your surgeon’s patient satisfaction reports (and I do not mean Yelp reviews).

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by eye doctors (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.   

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

This is a year of significant professional anniversaries.  It marks my 30th Emory Law School Reunion.  And, it marks the 20th anniversary of the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner.

Coincidentally, the combination of experience and proven result for clients was marked this week in the New York Law Journal’s Verdicts and Settlements Hall of Fame for a $5.8 million verdict against a New York City LASIK surgeon, which included $3.1 million, affirmed by the appellate court, for the patient’s pain and suffering.

To my friends, colleagues and clients who have entrusted their life-altering cases to me, I thank you for your confidence and support over the past 20 years.

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

Todd J. Krouner

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Another One Bites The Dust – LASIKPlus Sold

February 19th, 2014

Once LASIK eye surgery was all the rage.  Then TLC, the largest LASIK vision center, went bankrupt.  Apparently, it could not run its conveyor belt fast enough to turn a profit.

Yesterday, LCA-Vision, doing business as LASIKPlus, announced it is selling itself for $5.37/share to a skin care company, PhotoMedex.

According to its financial statements, LASIKPlus has not earned a profit since 2007.

If you ever wondered whether patients choose to have LASIK, or are sold this elective procedure, LASIKPlus trumpets that its marketing costs have dropped from $411 to $392/eye.  Imagine being sold an elective surgery that “only” costs your surgeon $800 to market.

What does PhotoMedex see in this dog?  An underutilized factory.  According to its press release, PhotoMedex observes:

LASIK procedures, however, are typically performed only one or two days a week in a costly infrastructure while other days are devoted to patient screening, pre-operative and post-operative care. LASIKPlus centers and staff, who deal one-on-one with patients, are ideally suited for expanding procedures beyond LASIK to include XTRAC laser treatments for various dermatologic disorders such as psoriasis and vitiligo, as well as utilizing the patient interaction for additional clinical brand dispensing.

Imagine the synergies.  Two-for one. Treat your myopia and psoriasis in one convenient sitting.  What could possibly go wrong?

LASIKPlus was not known for its attention to quality.  It received Warning Letters from the FDA concerning violations of federal regulations which govern the proper use of its surgical lasers.  It reports more than $6,600,000 in reserves to cover its patients’ medical malpractice claims.  That is, at an average price of $3,000 per patient having LASIK surgery on both eyes, it needs 2,200 new patients just to cover the costs of its prior blunders.

I am happy to see LASIKPlus disappear.  But it seems unlikely that its new corporate parent will have any more incentive to promote patient safety over patient profit.

Both LASIK patients and investors should look elsewhere.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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LASIK Patient Dissatisfaction

December 6th, 2013

In a recent episode about risks of LASIK surgery, Dr. Oz cited a Consumer Reports survey, which indicated that only 50% of patients who had LASIK surgery, three year later, were satisfied with their results.

A recent report from Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency put the patient satisfaction rate at 74%. For a copy of the story reported in Japan Times see here.  43% of patients complained of severe eye pain, dry eyes, and difficulty seeing in dim light.  18% said the surgery did not meet expectations, or that the improvement was only temporary.

The Japanese government report is important in the absence of any action by the F.D.A.  More than five years ago, the F.D.A. promised a LASIK safety survey which has yet to come.  Curiously, the Japanese experience, like the Consumer Reports survey, demonstrates much more patient dissatisfaction than the LASIK industry acknowledges.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

 

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Dr. Oz and LASIK Patient Safety – - Part 1

October 7th, 2013

On Thursday, October 3, 2013, Dr. Oz, an eminent cardiac surgeon by training himself, presented a segment on the dangers of LASIK eye surgery.

Cynthia MacKay, M.D., said that LASIK surgery is the one surgery that eye doctors will not get.

Dr. Oz reported a 20% complication rate, including dry eye and visual disturbances such as glare and halos.

He cited to a Consumer Reports survey of LASIK patients, which reported that three years after surgery, 50% of patients said they would not choose to have the surgery, and they were using glasses.

Finally, Dr. Oz said it makes his “blood boil” that five years after the FDA held hearings on LASIK patient safety, it still has not produced its long-overdue report.

I testified at that FDA hearing in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2008.  A reliable source informs me that there is no FDA report because no one in the LASIK industry was willing to participate, except for the United States Department of Defense.  That is the same Department of Defense that prohibits its pilots from having LASIK surgery!  The skeptic in me suspects that LASIK surgeons refuse to participate in a long-overdue patient safety study because they cannot support their supposed 1% complication rate.

It’s great to have someone of Dr. Oz’s stature and objectivity warn his audience about the hazards of LASIK surgery.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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Coming Out: LASIK Eye Injuries

September 25th, 2013

Last month, MLB.com reported that Philadelphia Phillies outfielder, Casper Wells, became fearful of getting injured because of post-LASIK vision complications.  Since his surgery in November 2012, Wells suffered from chronic dry eye and blurry vision.  I do not know Casper Wells, but I imagine he suffers from glare and halos under the stadium lights too.  Our client, Tom Baird, is a Phillies fan, who has post-LASIK ectasia.  This is what the outfield at Citizens Bank Park looked like to him before he required a corneal transplant.

 

I was thinking about Casper Wells, and his reported $500,000 annual salary, when I read a recent article in The New York Times, “Quandary of Hidden Disabilities: Conceal or Reveal?”  I am confident that Wells is not the only professional athlete who suffers career threatening vision complications as a result of LASIK surgery.   I have consulted personally with another professional baseball player.  Who wants to complain?  Who wants to raise doubts?  Who wants to jeopardize his or her lucrative contract?

The issue is not limited to professional athletes.  It includes people from all walks of life, including health care workers, doctors, pharmacists, people who work in finance, military personnel, pilots and truck drivers.  These individuals, like Casper Wells, try to balance their performance against obvious safety concerns.  None look disabled.  None want to take disability benefits.  None want to be discriminated against by their employers or co-workers.  Consequently, few ask for workplace accommodations, even though such accommodations would be of certain benefit.

How many patients have LASIK complications?  Until more courageous people like Casper Wells come forward, we will never know.  Most just suffer in silence.

 If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.   

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“Interesting Case” – - Patient 2 – - Steroid-Induced Glaucoma

February 15th, 2013

As I mentioned in the previous blog, the last thing you want to hear from your doctor is that you have an “interesting case.”

My second client who was written up in the Journal of Refractive Surgery developed steroid-induced glaucoma, and was blinded after LASIK, because of mismanagement of a post-operative complication.  She was given steroid eye drops for several weeks. Steroids are known to increase intraocular pressure (“IOP”) with extended use, but her eye doctors never bothered to check her IOP.  The elevated IOP eventually caused irreversible damage to her optic nerve. A copy of the article can viewed here.

Unrelated to this “interesting case,” LASIK surgeons rarely explain that a natural consequence of LASIK surgery makes it difficult to measure IOP, and monitor patients for warning signs of glaucoma.  The LASIK-induced changes to the cornea cause standard IOP monitors, or tonometers, to understate the true IOP.  If you know that you are at risk for glaucoma, you should discuss this issue not only with your LASIK surgeon, but also with a glaucoma specialist, before having this elective procedure.

The Glaucoma Foundation defines glaucoma as a group of eye diseases which in most cases produce increased pressure within the eye. This elevated pressure is caused by a backup of fluid in the eye. Over time, it causes damage to the optic nerve. For more about this silent theft of sight, see http://www.glaucomafoundation.org/about_glaucoma.htm

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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“Interesting Case” – - Patient 1 – - PRK, the “Safer” Alternative to LASIK

January 30th, 2013

When speaking of Hillary Clinton’s recent blood clot, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, from NBC News, explained that the last thing any patient wants to hear her doctor say is “You have an interesting case.”

As a patient for elective eye surgery like LASIK, that is especially true.  Tragically, two of my clients have been “interesting” enough to have articles written about them in the medical literature.  You want to avoid their vision threatening disabilities.

Patient One lives in Georgia. He was evaluated for LASIK surgery.  He had frank keratoconus.  The surgeon recognized that was a contraindication to LASIK surgery.  Instead, he offered the “safer” alternative of PRK eye surgery.  Regrettably, “safer” did not mean “safe.”  The patient became legally blind in both eyes within two weeks after the ill-advised surgery. Here is the medical article discussing the case.

PRK, or surface treatment, is considered safer than LASIK surgery by some refractive surgeons because it does not involve creation of a door-hinge corneal flap.  PRK hurts more than LASIK surgery and takes a little longer to heal, which is why the majority of eye surgeons recommend LASIK.

Still, if your eye doctor tells you that you are not a good candidate for LASIK, but might be for PRK, you should proceed cautiously.  For instance, if your cornea is too thin for LASIK, it still may not be safe for PRK either.  The bottom line here is that there is never a good reason to be aggressive with elective surgery.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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Surgeons Make Thousands of Errors

January 8th, 2013

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that surgeons make thousands of errors – - that should never happen: operating on the wrong patient; leaving a sponge behind; or in the world of LASIK eye surgery, putting the wrong numbers in the surgical laser.[1]

We have two of those cases.  We also have dozens of inquiries from patients who have vision-threatening post-LASIK ectasia, caused by eye surgery which never should have been performed in the first place.  Unlike some complications in medicine, these surgical mistakes, for an elective procedure, are totally preventable, and should never happen.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

 



[1] See Laura Landro, “Surgeons Make Thousands of Errors,” Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2012, p. A2.

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Top New York Settlements of 2012

January 3rd, 2013

Once again, the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has achieved one of the top settlements of the year for LASIK malpractice.  According to Verdict Search, in 2012, our $975,000 recovery for a Staten Island housewife with ectasia was among the largest medical malpractice settlements, and the only reported recovery for a LASIK surgery mishap.

According to a report by Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, the average recovery for successful LASIK surgery negligence claims is less than $100,000.[1] Consequently, choosing a knowledgeable attorney, with experience handling LASIK, and related eye surgery, malpractice cases, is critical to not only having a successful outcome, but also to obtaining full compensation for vision threatening injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.



[1] See James D. Salz, M.D, “Lawyers, Guns, Money, & Medicine,” Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today, February 2007, p. 61.

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Glasses For Fashion. Glasses For Health

June 19th, 2012

For a decade, LASIK sellers have hawked ”throw away your glasses” in an appeal to our vanity and insecurity about how we look with spectacles.  The trend has turned.  Geek chic-glasses are cool!

The front page of the Wall Street Journal reports “Fashion Plates of the NBA Make Specs of Themselves.”  While Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder battle in the NBA Finals, they agree on one thing. Big eye glass frames are all the rage.  Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2012, A1.

No one should mistake this for a fashion blog, but the trend is clear.  Glasses are cool.  From the NBA, to Hollywood, get some retro Scorsese frames.

Compared to LASIK surgery, glasses do not cause vision threatening disabilities.  They do not cause ectasia, impaired night vision or dry eyes.

Visit your optician.  It makes fashion sense.  It makes health sense.

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Chinese Doctors Recommend Against LASIK For Military Personnel

April 17th, 2012

I just returned from an extraordinary two week trip to Asia.  Last month, the top LASIK surgeon in Taiwan quit performing the procedure after noticing alarming complication rates in his patients several years later.

This month, another team of Chinese ophthalmologists reported that LASIK is not safe for military personnel.  The report in the Chinese Journal of Traumatology concluded: “There is a high risk of potential flap problems after LASIK and it is not recommended in army service.”

Newly four years have elapsed since the FDA promised LASIK safety studies.  For those who are tired of holding their breath, the recent news from Asia is not encouraging.

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New Questions About LASIK Safety

February 27th, 2012

Earlier this month, Tsai Jui-Fang, M.D., the ophthalmologist who had introduced LASIK surgery to Taiwan approximately 20 years ago, quit the procedure because of safety concerns.  Related Chinese medical device stocks reportedly dropped 4% the following day.

Dr. Tsai reported that some of his patients experienced serious eyesight deterioration for unknown reasons around 10 years after surgery.  He suspects that the problem may have been caused by chronic postoperative inflammation underneath the corneal flap.

In response, the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan maintains that LASIK surgery is a low-risk procedure, with a complication rate less than 0.1 percent.  That number is not credible.

In the United States, Morris Waxler, who approved the surgical lasers for LASIK when he worked at the FDA in the 1990’s, has petitioned the FDA for a moratorium on LASIK surgery. Dr. Waxler says, “If I knew then, what I know now, I never would have recommended approval of these lasers.”

In 2008, the FDA held hearings on LASIK safety. Four years later, we continue to await its report on LASIK safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

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LASIK Racketeers

December 5th, 2011

TLC was once the largest laser eye facility in the United States. Its parent corporation’s stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange, until it recently went bankrupt. However, its bankruptcy did not come soon enough for a large cluster of approximately 60 patients in South Carolina, who developed an avoidable, vision threatening complication, post-LASIK ectasia. In their class action, the patients allege that TLC not only injured them, but also concealed their diagnosis, so that their statutes of limitation would run.

In addition to TLC, the individually named LASIK surgeons include a “who’s who” in the industry, and cover laser centers nationwide, including New York, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, Boca Raton, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Madison.

Separate from the medical malpractice claims, the class action alleges that TLC and its doctors engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity by keeping two sets of patient records, and denying patients access to their “true” records, which revealed their diagnosis of vision threatening ectasia.

In a February 2011 decision, the federal court dismissed the racketeering claims because under South Carolina law, patient records are the property of the doctor, and not  the patient.  In addition, to the extent that some claims were 10 years old, or more, the court ruled that they were barred by the statute of limitation.

Still, the thrust of this shocking lawsuit continues in state and federal court inSouth Carolina. The case is a sad reminder of the worse of the LASIK industry including:

(1)   Profits coming ahead of patient care;

(2)   Doctor preservation coming ahead of patient vision preservation;

(3)   Under reporting and non-reporting of serious vision threatening complications not only to the FDA, but to the patients themselves.

For a copy of the decision, Dickenson v. TLC LASIK Centers, please click here.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

 

 

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The Challenges of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

September 19th, 2011

A  recent study confirms that 80% per cent of medical malpractice lawsuits are won by doctors.  While that news is disappointing to victims of medical negligence, it is neither surprising nor news to seasoned trial lawyers.  By contrast, our experience with LASIK eye surgery negligence is quite the opposite.  Why the differences?

Medical malpractice cases are difficult for several reasons.  First, patients are suing doctors, who generally are trusted, respected and beloved by jurors.  Second, patients are required to hire qualified medical experts, who must be willing to testify against their colleagues.  Third, the cost of prosecuting malpractice cases is expensive.  Fourth, patients typically come to doctors with a disease (cancer for example) or injury which was not the doctors’ fault.  Given all of these hurdles, an earlier study revealed that only 3% of patients who had strong claims ever bothered to bring them.

LASIK malpractice is different from other forms of medical malpractice for two important reasons.  First, high volume  LASIK surgeons, who run LASIK factories and do not even know their patients, are loathed rather than loved by jurors for turning eyes into commodities.  “Sale on LASIK!  $250/eye this week!”

Second, LASIK malpractice cases differ even from other eye cases, such as where a patient has an underlying disease such as cataracts, glaucoma or a detached retina.  Wearing glasses or contact lenses is not a disease.  Consequently, when a patient is blinded, or left severely visually disabled by LASIK or PRK surgery, it becomes extremely for difficult for careless eye doctors to defend their actions.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor, you should promptly contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice.  The Law Office of Todd J. Krouner has a proven track record of helping patients injured by LASIK (and other forms of medical malpractice) all over the country.  To determine if you have a strong case, contact us for a free consultation at (914) 238-5800.

 

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Filed under: Blog , LASIK Malpractice


The Statute of Limitations is the Doctor’s Friend, Not Yours

June 21st, 2011

The statute of limitations is the period by when you are required to start a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of claim, and even for the same claim, can vary from state to state.

In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two and one-half years from the date of surgery. It may be extended for continuous treatment by the same doctor, for the same condition. By contrast, in New Jersey the statute of limitations for medical negligence is two years, but may be extended until the time when the patient discovers his or her injury. The legal definition of “continuous treatment” or “discovery” can be complicated, even to lawyers, and requires careful discussion between you and your attorney.

Too often, I speak to patients with LASIK surgery complications or bad outcomes after their statute of limitations expire. Many could prove negligence or mistakes by their eye doctors. However, their claims, and ability to recover fair compensation for their visual problems, are barred as untimely.

I ask, “Why did you wait so long to call a lawyer?” The answer I get is because the doctor said they would get better with time. Sometimes that may be true. But should the patient wait two years, or longer, on the hope of getting better?

In South Carolina a lawsuit against TLC alleges that its eye surgeons knew patients had ectasia, or other related LASIK malpractice injuries, and did not tell the patients. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that the doctors led the patients along with false hopes and promises of improvements for the purpose of making sure that the patients’ statute of limitations expired.

Certainly not all doctors are that conniving. However, your doctor knows the statute of limitations. So should you. If six months after your surgery you are not getting better, call a medical malpractice attorney in your community to learn the statute of limitations. Making the call should not cost you anything. Making the call will not obligate you to do anything. It’s bad enough to be the victim of a doctor’s negligence. It is even worse to be without any legal remedy.  If you know your statute of limitations, then you can make an informed decision whether or not you want to take action. Your rights to be reimbursed for lost income, medical expenses or your pain and suffering should not evaporate without you at least knowing.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured as a result of eye surgery negligence, contact the LAW OFFICE OF TODD J. KROUNER for a free initial consultation.

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