Case in point: young Victoria Patterson of South Carolina, who suffered a misdiagnosis from her optometrist in 2006 that could have killed her. A second opinion from a pediatric ophthalmologist corrected the misdiagnosis, enabling her to get the treatment that she needed.
Another case in point: the California veterans who went blind under the care of optometrists rather than MDs.
A Veterans Administration probe that found eight veterans suffered potentially preventable vision loss while under the care of optometrists at a Northern California VA facility is prompting medical groups to call for a state investigation.
The groups sent a petition Wednesday to the California Department of Consumer Affairs seeking an evaluation of the care received by the veterans at VA Palo Alto. The patients had glaucoma, a class of eye diseases that can lead to blindness.
The California Medical Association, California Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons and American Glaucoma Society want the state to suspend a new state law set to take effect in January that would expand optometrists’ ability to care for glaucoma patients.
It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute between optometrists, who have four years of training, and ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors, over who should be allowed to treat the disease.
“This illustrates what can happen when people who aren’t qualified treat glaucoma,” said James Ruben, a pediatric ophthalmologist who is president of the Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons.
That was in 2009, before ObamaCare. The president’s signature law has only made the situation worse.
In an ironic twist, ObamaCare’s chaos is helping foster the charge to increase roles for less-trained medical personnel. Over time, if more states allow optometrists and nurse practitioners to deliver MD level training, costs to patients will increase, not decrease, as the president and his Democratic Party promised the law would do.
My surgeon source is not surprised.
“We knew this when ObamaCare was passed, and we watched it unfold.”
We’re still watching it all unfold, finding out what was in that law long after it was passed — over the objections of a majority of Americans.