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.