Up until today, I have been a patient at Northwest Eye Surgeons in Seattle, for just over three years. My retina specialist, Dr. Paul Griggs, has been taking care of me during that time, and I am very happy with his level of skill and his treatment of me. Recently, Dr. Griggs referred me to a colleague regarding a different condition.
I consulted with Dr. Bruce Cameron and we decided upon a treatment plan that included a procedure that would implant a shunt in my eye, via a needle injection. This was especially attractive to me because I am legally blind already, and I am at very high risk for losing the remaining functional vision that I do have. I don’t have a lot of vision left to lose, but losing it would be everything.
This procedure would be minimally invasive. Four weeks went by and I received a call from Dr. Cameron’s assistant to go over the details for the procedure. The surgery was to be in only four days from that time, and only then did I learn it was a type of procedure not even mentioned to me by Dr. Cameron, so of course we had not discussed it at all.
I was being asked to come in for a surgery that I knew nothing about, but it’s results could decide if I am ever able to work again, or if I might continue to experience any appreciable level of independence through the rest of my life. Over the next four days, I repeatedly, specifically, and with great passion told employees of Northwest Eye Surgeons that I was alarmed about this unknown procedure that would include incisions with a scalpel ( I assume, because all I could learn about this procedure was what I found on the Internet. ).
I was promised multiple return phone calls which never came, but each time that I called them, I was given some boilerplate reply to the effect that I would have a chance to speak to the doctor at some point. I showed up for the surgery, and the plan that Northwest Eye Surgeons had to allay my fears was to have me talk to Dr. Cameron just before walking in to the operating room, and make a decision on the spot about whether or not I wanted to proceed with the surgery.
No time to think about it, explore other opinions or informational sources. Just….. Yes or no? The systemic nonchalance and indifference that all of these people displayed to me was absolutely appalling. A four-year-old getting his first haircut gets more consideration and attention than I did, and I was trying to make the biggest decision of my life. Yet, even more appalling than that was the fact that all of these people, especially Dr. Bruce Cameron, were entirely comfortable with the fact and knowledge that I was going to be walking in for a procedure, about which I could not possibly be medically informed in time to make a reasoned decision, one free of extreme stress and fear.
I would think that an ethical doctor and a reputable clinic would be unwilling to allow such a situation to develop, and further, would respond to a patient’s repeated pleas for help. The level of professional care provided to me by Bruce Cameron was so substandard and alarming that I will not be returning to Northwest Eye Surgeons, and I will be contacting the Washington state governing bodies that regulate healthcare delivery and licensing regarding this incident.