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Richmond woman gets laser treatment — on the wrong eye

Shirley Ng got a two-for-the-price-of-one deal that she absolutely did not want
Shirley Ng got laser treatment on her left eye at the Eyecare Centre at Vancouver Hospital last week, instead of her right.

Normally, getting two for the price of one elicits a sense of satisfaction, if not at least a little fist pump.

But that’s not the case for Richmond woman Shirley Ng, who was due to receive laser treatment to relieve pressure on her right eye last week at the Eyecare Centre at Vancouver Hospital.

Ng did get the prescribed treatment, but on the wrong eye.

It was only when she complained afterwards to the receptionist at the Eyecare Centre that the doctors acknowledged the mistake and offered to treat the right eye.

By that time, Ng said she had “lost all confidence” in the doctor to perform the procedure and refused any more treatment.

“I was nervous. (The doctor) turned off the lights and she put the cold gel lens on my left eye,” Ng told the Richmond News of the initial treatment.

“She started to examine my left eye and was doing something with that, but I have never been through this before, so I just assumed it was part of the process.

“After that, she said I did I very good job. I said to her, ‘you have done the laser on my right eye, yes?’ She said yes. But everything was on the left eye. I thought maybe they needed to do something with the left eye first.”

After the left eye treatment, Ng was asked to go outside and wait until the receptionist did the post-treatment, eye-pressure check.

But when she told the receptionist that she was there for treatment on her right eye, Ng was asked to go back to the same doctor.

“I was then told that the treatment needed to be ‘redone.’ I was shocked. The doctor never even apologized, not even a sorry,” added Ng.

“She said I need to do the treatment again, this time for the right eye. I was then very mad and said I wasn’t letting her do it.”

Ng was told there was no damage to her left eye

When she asked if there was any damage to her perfectly-healthy left eye from the unnecessary laser treatment, Ng said she was told no.

“I was told it was just a gentle laser, but I’ve no confidence in anything they told me to be honest,” she said.

To add insult to injury, Ng claims she was handed a consent form to sign, after the treatment.

“I refused to sign it, not a chance,” said Ng, who reported the matter straight away to the hospital’s patient care quality.

Ng did, however, eventually give permission for the treatment on her right eye, but only because of the aforementioned pressure.

As for her left eye, she said it was still quite red and sore.

“I went back on Monday to get it checked again and the surgeon said the team had made a mistake and said sorry,” added Ng.

A spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health refused to go into any detail about the complaint, citing privacy regulations.

“We encourage those who are concerned about their care or the care of their loved ones to connect with our Patient Care Quality Office.”