What if the LASIK Doctor Says That They Are Unable to Answer Additional Questions?

I had a consultation recently with a LASIK doctor who is offering a discount price on the Wavelength Allegretto Process. I thoroughly researched him on the Internet before the consultation. After the consultation, I emailed the doctor's office to ask some additional questions about my diagnosis and future testing (as well as ask for some patients to talk to) and was told he was unable to provide patient names due to HIPAA regs and was unable to answer my other questions. Should I run?

Doctor Answers 6

Your Doctor Won't Answer Email Questions About LASIK

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In thus electronic age, many patients have learned to utilize such things as email, Facebook, and other means (this website being a prime example) to get more information regarding their procedure, or to contact their physician's office for more details. Every indication is that this trend will continue to rise, and like it or not, physicians will also have to learn to use this medium to communicate with their patients. If your physician is not comfortable communicating via email, it may be due to any of a number of factors, but if it is important to you that your provider be available via email, then you should continue to look elsewhere. Also, most successful LASIK practices maintain a list of very helpful patients who have indicated their willingness to discuss their experience with other potential patients. If no such list exists for this practice, that doesn't mean that they're any better or any worse than the next one. However, if this is important to you, the same applies, and you should seek another provider who is more to your liking. My only other suggestion would be to let the practice know exactly what has led you to make your choice, if your decision is to find another surgeon to perform your LASIK. Best of luck as you make your decision, and thanks for posting your question!

Phoenix Ophthalmologist

It is important to have all questions answered to your satisfaction

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It is important to have all questions answered to your satisfaction and you must feel comfortable with your surgeon.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

That Depends on The Questions

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Some doctors have patients who have expressed interest in being a referral source but usually this will be someone who had an excellent result and will known to be positive about their experience and results.  In general doctors do not like to burden their existing patients with such inquiry whether it is a HIPAA violation or not.

Also, the internet can create a back and forth discussion which is not always productive.  A few reasonable e-mail questions is appropriate, but if you have many questions then another visit and consultation would be the best alternative.

I would be more concerned about the issue of the offer of "discount" services.  You should probably go to another provider and get a second opinion since you have unanswered questions anyway.  It is important that you are well informed and comfortable in your decision.

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village Ophthalmologist

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Unable to answer LASIK questions

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I would recommend that you go seek the care of a doctor whose team is willing to answer your questions or speak with you further.  Although consent is needed from patients who have had procedures, many happy LASIK patients are willing to speak with potential patients.  I would steer away from centers who offer discount services and discount prices. This is a medical procedure in which you need to be treated like a person and your eyes, as eyes. LASIK is not a commodity.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

Your Doctor Won't Answer Any More Questions

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I would run, yes. Besides giving you a great outcome, the surgeons role is to make you feel at ease and to answer any and all questions. You should be able to find someone in Atlanta to provide this service. Remember, though, you do get what you pay for, so beware of the discount offers.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Getting your questions about Lasik answered

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He is responding properly.

A physician can't offer other patient contact without their express permission, so unless a previous patient has offered to be contacted by potential patients of a practice, he is indeed prohibited from sharing names and numbers.

Most practices won't engage in email Q and A sessions because it is usually staff who handle email and they can't give you medical information in an email that is specific to your situation. Your only and best alternative is to revisit the physician and take your notepad and questions with you.

Many physicians will discount a new technology to get the ball rolling - but if your only reason for choosing this physician is the discount, then the selection process should be re evaluated.

Nasrin Mani, MD
La Jolla Physician
3.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.