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New York City Jury Awards Man $7.25 Million for LASIK Surgery Gone Bad

Aug 5, 2005 | Although LASIK eye surgery is rapidly becoming one of the most common and safest forms of surgery, it should not be taken lightly as it is still a delicate surgical procedure.

Thus, the potential exists for some very serious post-operative problems to occur if the procedure is not performed correctly or if a patient’s medical history is not properly evaluated to first determine if the surgery is contraindicated and should not be done.

Unlike some other surgical procedures which, if done improperly, may be corrected, LASIK surgery that results in serious vision problems is very often beyond repair.

This is what appears to have occurred in the case of a 32-year-old former investment banker whose LASIK surgery left him with distorted and blurred vision that forced him to leave a high paying Wall Street career.

The allegation made by the plaintiff, Mark Schiffer, is that Dr. Mark Speaker, a well-known LASIK surgeon with thousands of procedures to his credit, should never have performed the operation because Mr. Schiffer suffered from a degenerative corneal condition called keratoconus which made laser surgery unsafe.

It was claimed that doctors affiliated with Dr. Speaker failed to diagnose this condition before the surgery because the high-volume practice was what Mr. Schiffer’s attorney referred to as the “McDonalds of LASIK surgery.”

On the day Mr. Schiffer was operated on, Dr. Speaker performed procedures on 10 other patients. This was claimed to have been a factor in the failure to determine that Mr. Schiffer was not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery.

Defense counsel argued that Mr. Schiffer did not suffer from keratoconus and that his injuries were far less severe than claimed.

The $7.25 million jury award represented $4.5 million in lost income and $2.75 million for conscious pain and suffering. Previously, the highest award in a LASIK eye surgery case was believed to be $4 million in an Arizona case involving a former United Airlines pilot.

There was no immediate word if the defendants intended to appeal the verdict in the Schiffer case. 

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