Letter: Get a second opinion

If you get told that you need emergency surgery, don't take the doctor's word - get a second opinion immediately.

On Feb. 17 of this year, I was told that I needed emergency surgery for retinal detachment and was sent to Las Vegas for the surgery - that I am still not sure that I needed. But, I didn't want to end up not being able to see, so I took my doctor's advice and had the surgery. I had better vision before the surgery than after. The surgery had to be repeated as the doctor told me that the first one failed.

Additionally, he had to remove the lens in my right eye in order to make the second attempt. The second attempt required replacing the fluid (vitreous) with a "cloudy oil" that further obscured my vision. He now tells me that removing the oil to replace my lens could cause the second surgery to fail. Sounds to me like he used snake oil. He advised that I get a contact lens to correct my vision, but now I know that a contact lens will not clear up cloudiness caused by the oil - so I will still have blurry vision.

I still don't know if either surgery was necessary, but I do know that it has cost me a lot of money, which I am sure that the doctor was more than willing to charge Medicare and me.

A second opinion would have been covered by most insurers, including Medicare. It might have turned out that I did indeed need the surgery, but at least the second opinion would have given me the confidence to proceed. And then again, I might have discovered that there may have been other, more effective, ways to treat my condition. There are hundreds of free Web sites that rate doctors and their skills, which I did not do but should have looked into. And, I should have gotten a second opinion. Now, after nearly six months, I am forced to endure yet another surgery in order to have my vision restored. I am looking around for another doctor before I end up being completely blind in that eye.

I don't want to see anyone else go through what I have if they don't have to. After all these weeks, everything is still blurry and my left eye has a cataract. It is blurry, so I stumble around.

Ruth Harvey

Kingman