Every Illinois medical malpractice lawyer at our firm knows that advertising plays a large role in some systematic problems in the medical community. For example, when large pharmaceutical companies engage in illegal practices to convince doctors to prescribe their medication for off-label purposes, then many patients are ultimately harmed by the subsequent use of the drugs in unsafe ways. Similarly, when claims are made about certain medical procedures that are untrue, many more patients than otherwise likely agree to have that surgery. Unnecessary complications and potential risks are therefore endured because of deception on the part of those in the medical community who seek to maximize their profits with little regard for the needs of the patient. When it occurs in our area this represents a hidden but damaging form of Illinois medical malpractice.
Along the same lines, Health Day News reported last week on new steps being taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to crack down on improper advertising by those promoting the popular LASIK eye surgery. In a new letter, the FDA challenges eye doctors to stop using deceptive and potentially harmful advertising practices. The letter claims that these medical professionals are over-selling the potential benefits of the surgery while failing to adequately inform consumers about the risks associated with LASIK. Specifically, the FDA noted that many professionals do not warn consumers that the surgery can lead to vision loss, under or over correction of one’s vision, glare, halos, double vision, dry eye, or infection.
This is not the first time that the FDA has tried to crack-down on dangerous advertising by these medical professionals. In May of 2009, the agency sent a similar warning urging eye surgeons to correct problems with their procedures. Considering this latest letter echoes many of the same concerns as before, it does not appear that the first warning was all that effective. As a result, the agency claims in this most recent warning that if the targeted eye doctors do not step up and make the necessary changes within 90 days, then the FDA will take regulatory action. One of the main concerns is drawing in people who have little to no use for the surgery. For example, those with thin or irregular corneas, various types of eye disease, glaucoma, or cataracts should likely not have the procedure performed.
The Illinois medical malpractice attorneys at our firm urge all area residents to make informed choices about these and other voluntary surgeries. In order to ensure that one does not fall victim to medical malpractice, the most important step is choosing the right doctor. It is always a good idea to look into the medical professional’s history and to speak with those who have worked with the surgeon before. In addition, doctors who are members of local ophthalmology associations, surgeon’s organizations, and are board-certified are much more likely to provide the quality of care that all patients should expect. If you ever happen to fall victim to a negligent medical professional, be sure to get in touch with legal professionals to understand if the civil justice system may provide any recourse.
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