This story has a happy ending, no thanks to Dr Meades.
In 2001 I started developing double vision, and over the years it got worse and worse, to the point where, in many situations, particularly when I was driving a car, I had to keep one eye closed, which was far from satisfactory.
After seeing Dr Meades and one of her colleagues, Dr Jennifer Sandbach, I decided to seek out another ophthalmologist and found Dr Fitzsimons. During quite a short consultation, (I think it cost me about $100, with more than half recoverable from Medicare,) Dr Fitzsimons told me simply, (1) that it was incredibly unlikely that my double vision was due to anything serious, seeing it had been developing over 10 years, but if I wanted to remove any doubt, I could have an MRI of my brain, and, (2) to remove the effects of the double vision, all I had to do was get glasses with prisms in them – I had never even heard of prisms!
So I had an MRI of my brain – which was clear. And I got a pair of glasses with prisms in them, and they are miraculous – it’s as though I don’t have double vision at all.
Prior to discovering Dr Fitzsimons, I had been referred to Dr Meades.
Seeing Dr Meades involved more than 2 hours of my time, because she was really late. First of all one of her orthoptists checked me out. Then eventually, I saw Dr Meades for 8 or 9 minutes during which she was vague, distracted and unhelpful. About the only thing she said that might have been helpful was that cataracts might have been a factor, except that two optometrists and two ophthalmologists, before and since have told me that this was madness – my lenses are not cloudy at all.
She referred me to her colleague Dr Sandbach, who she said might be able to find the cause of my double vision. (Of course, on Dr Fitzsimmons’ approach this too was madness.) I spent almost 3 hours with Dr Sandbach and her orthoptist and she was equally unhelpful. At one stage she said, “I’m yet to be convinced that you’ve even got double vision!!!???” And she wanted me to come back for more tests – goodness knows why.
So I had spent virtually five hours with Dr Meades and Dr Sandbach, it cost me about $360, and I could claim back far less than 50% from Medicare, and I had learnt nothing.
I sent Dr Meades a couple of emails about all this, and got one email back in which she said this. (In fact I sent her a number of emails and never got more than this one back.)
She also said in a letter, and I quote, “double vision is one of those conditions that needs step by step investigations which can take time to come to a conclusion” and she referred to the “seriousness of the condition”.
I came to the conclusion that neither Dr Meades nor Dr Sandbach knew much about double vision at all.
It seems to me that if Dr Meades had had her way I would still be in her rooms seeing her, her orthoptists, and her colleagues, perhaps having my cataracts done, being scared out of my wits by the “seriousness” of my condition, and being subject to “step by step investigations” to find out goodness knows what, and goodness knows why – as I say, on Dr Fitzsimons approach, all complete and utter madness.
Perhaps Dr Fitzsimons approach is the wrong one? I don’t think so. What do you think?
P.S: In checking the qualifications of Dr Meades and Dr Sandbach I found that they were both claiming on their website that they had the FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) qualification – presumably to boost their apparent credentials, (and perhaps their egos,) when these claims were false. They had no right to claim this qualification at all. After some emails from me and the College they took these claims down, albeit a bit reluctantly it seemed.
A 20 Jul 2011 update: I today sent Dr Meades an email saying this.
I’m not expecting that it will be even acknowledged, but if I hear from her, I’ll let you know immediately.
I also sent a copy to the optometrist who referred me to her!