Eye Doctor Sued for Lack of Focus

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Rockland, Maryland doctor offered customers eyes like Tiger.  But now he owes over a million dollar to a patient whose eyes got blurrier.

    Dr. Mark Whitten's laser eye surgery practice claims 4-time Masters golfing champion Tiger Woods as a patient since 1999.  Whitten's web page says "Prior to LASIK surgery, without his glasses or contacts, he would not have been able to see the ball on the tee."

    But Pennsylvania man David Cantalupo, in a lawsuit, claimed that he could not see out of his left eye after he underwent laser eye surgery with the doctor.

    "If you had to look through that eye, it would be impossible," Cantalupo's attorney, Alan Perer said.  He said his client's vision remains "very blurry, fuzzy, he sees double images."

    The original procedure took place in 2001.  Perer said that at that time, Dr. Whitten would fly from Maryland to Pittsburgh, perform 35 surgeries in a day, and then fly back home.

    Cantalupo's procedure lasted only minutes, and cost him $3,500.

    He did not sue until 2006, when another eye doctor diagnosed his post-surgical condition.  The original surgery attempted to correct his vision by using a laser to shave a portion of eye off, thus thinning the cornea.  Further correction would require more slicing, a highly risky procedure with already thin corneas.

    Cantalupo claimed that the Rockland doctor had not properly warned him about the dangers of the laser surgery he performed.  A Pennsylvania jury ruled that Dr. Whitten had not obtained "informed consent" before performing the laser surgery, and he was ordered to pay $875,000 to his former patient.

    The doctor appealed the ruling, but lost again.  Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered him to pay the original penalty plus $156 per day, totaling $1.07 million.