dilemma choosing a Lasik doctor

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dilemma choosing a Lasik doctor

Postby SeekingAdvice » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:18 pm

I have had several Lasik consultations. I was told by all that I am a good candidate for the procedure. I am having problems choosing where to have it done because the doctors and their staff are extremely pushy and saleman-y, all claiming they're the best, have best equipment, have done thousands (huge numbers) of laser procedures, were 'the first' or one of 'the first' to be doing that or using a given equipement or be selected to be evaulating a given laser when it was introduced. All claim to have been some sort of a pioneer in the field. Some go as far as saying this or that other doctor or their equipment is not as good as they claim, etc.

I checked all easily available background info and it seems that even the most qualified (in terms of education, teaching positions, reputation) have a lawsuit/settlement every now and then. What's the best and most reliable source for that info?

The doctor I'm most comfortable with is not board certified and his staff says certification does not mean that he is not qualified to perform these procedures but rather did not take the exam because he was too busy with his practice. On the other hand, one of the doctors with biggest lawsuit history with biggest $ awards to patients is board certified! So what is board certification good for anyway?

Needless to say, I am totally confused. I was told by some people that lots of lasik doctors get sued especially if they do a lot of procedures.

Provided they all have lots of years of exprience, lots of favorable testimonials and reviews, great fda approved equipment, what should I be putting most emphasis on in my decision making process? The credentials, board certifications, lawsuit history, or my gut feeling and comfort level with the doctor?

Thanks.
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Re: dilemma choosing a Lasik doctor

Postby LasikExpert » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:35 pm

SeekingAdvice wrote:I am having problems choosing where to have it done because the doctors and their staff are extremely pushy and saleman-y, ...


Recent economic changes have taken their toll on the number of patients seeking Lasik. Some practices seem a little desperate to recruit new patients. This is an elective procedure that can easily be delayed and with a lot of competition.

SeekingAdvice wrote:...all claiming they're the best, have best equipment, have done thousands (huge numbers) of laser procedures, were 'the first' or one of 'the first' to be doing that or using a given equipement or be selected to be evaulating a given laser when it was introduced. All claim to have been some sort of a pioneer in the field.


Yes, every doctor is first in something, a pioneer of something, and has the best of something. It is rare to find a doctor who has ever been #2 in anything. It's like chickens no longer lay small eggs (check your grocery store).

SeekingAdvice wrote:Some go as far as saying this or that other doctor or their equipment is not as good as they claim, etc.


This may be true, but in my opinion it is in poor taste to claim. If there is a problem doctor in the neighborhood, another doctor could point you to the resources (newspaper article, lawsuit) where you can learn the facts and come to your own conclusion.

SeekingAdvice wrote:I checked all easily available background info and it seems that even the most qualified (in terms of education, teaching positions, reputation) have a lawsuit/settlement every now and then. What's the best and most reliable source for that info?


There really is no single publicly available source for this type of information. You would need to check with the state's medical board, civil court actions, criminal actions, etc.. When evaluating a surgeon for certification we use the National Practitioner’s Data Base, which is a congressionally mandated repository of negative events of all US doctors, however this info is not available to the public.

SeekingAdvice wrote:The doctor I'm most comfortable with is not board certified and his staff says certification does not mean that he is not qualified to perform these procedures but rather did not take the exam because he was too busy with his practice.


Hmmm. Too busy to be evaluated by an outside party? Certification by the American Board of Ophthalmology does not specifically affirm that the surgeon is proficient in Lasik, but is conspicuous by its absence.

SeekingAdvice wrote:On the other hand, one of the doctors with biggest lawsuit history with biggest $ awards to patients is board certified!


This may also be the doctor who has performed the most surgeries. A 99.9% success rate would still mean half a dozen lawsuits if the doctor has performed 60,000 surgeries.

SeekingAdvice wrote:Provided they all have lots of years of exprience, lots of favorable testimonials and reviews, great fda approved equipment, what should I be putting most emphasis on in my decision making process? The credentials, board certifications, lawsuit history, or my gut feeling and comfort level with the doctor?


It is a combination of all the above. It may be that you live in a community that has several well qualified Lasik doctors. There may not be anyone who stands above the crowd because the crowd is all so good. I would recommend that you not select a doctor with whom you feel uneasy. If something goes wrong, you need to be able to trust your doctor’s decisions.

I very highly recommend you use our 50 Tough Questions For Your Lasik Doctor to evaluate a potential surgeon, or consider a Lasik doctor who's patient outcomes have been certified by our organization.
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director
USAEyes

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
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