November 12, 2008 - 10:00 pm
A Las Vegas eye doctor who has been sued for medical malpractice at least 17 times during his career is the target of a new class-action lawsuit filed by four Las Vegas Valley residents.
The patients claim Dr. Vikas Jain and his wife, Dr. Anamika Jain, advertised a flat rate for laser vision corrective surgery to be done with state-of-the-art equipment by a board certified ophthalmologist. But according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Barry Levinson, Jain’s practice offered none of those services.
“The surgery was not state-of-the-art, did not use the most advanced equipment and all care was not provided by board certified ophthalmologists,” states the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.
Vikas Jain conducted most of the pre- and post-surgery assessment and measurement tests even though he is not a certified laser surgeon, Levinson said Tuesday.
“The surgeons were doing the work based on what he said,” Levinson said.
On Tuesday, Jain said the allegations are untrue.
He wouldn’t go into detail per his attorney’s instruction, but Jain said he believes a former employee prompted the lawsuit.
“I really believe a disgruntled employee drummed up patients and everyone got on the bandwagon,” Jain said. “I never did a single thing at Valley Eye Center that any technician at any practice in America couldn’t do.”
The lawsuit, which is expected to eventually include dozens of plaintiffs, also targets former surgeon Stella Chou, alleging that she allowed Jain to perform pre-operative tests while knowing he was not a certified laser surgeon.
Dr. Vikas Jain, also known as Ken Johnson, lost his medical license in Ohio in 2005, then moved to Nevada and used his wife’s medical license to open the Valley Eye Center on Tenaya Way the next year.
Vikas Jain is not licensed to practice medicine in Nevada.
Jain advertised the guaranteed price for his eye procedures, but then tacked on additional costs, according to the lawsuit.
The costs were added when the patients were offered “insurance” for enhancement surgery after the original operation, the lawsuit states.
“Jain’s deceptive and misleading advertisements offer ‘one price’ surgery, but most clients paid more, sometimes substantially more,” the lawsuit states.
Jain, who has been licensed in six other states, was the subject of a 2001 “ABC News Primetime” special on negligent eye care.
Jain was the first Ohio eye surgeon to be punished by the State Medical Board of Ohio, whose members hoped they could prevent him from practicing in another location.
Andrew Robbins, a member of the Ohio board, called Jain a “predator,” after he performed cataract surgery on a blind woman’s eye and conducted laser surgery on the eye of a patient who could see perfectly fine, according to the publication Refractive Surgery News.
More than 20 patients suffered “substantial harm,” and Jain’s peers deemed him to be unqualified to perform refractive surgery, according to a report by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, which is also investigating Valley Eye Center.
According to a news article in the Columbus Dispatch, Jain admitted that he performed eye surgery after drinking and was undergoing treatment for alcoholism.
Jain said Tuesday that he has been sober for six years.
“I have a history and I’ve owned up to that history,” he said.
A State Medical Board of Ohio investigation showed that Jain skipped presurgical tests, misdiagnosed patients and had a “very sloppy, shoddy, slash-and-dash, irresponsible way of taking care of people,” the Dispatch reported.
The lawsuit filed Monday in District Court claims the Jains’ center in Las Vegas was “an assembly line” where surgery was done in a “cattle call environment.”
Testimonials on the Web site for the Valley Eye Center, which remains open at 2931 N. Tenaya Way, claim the surgery was a success, but the waiting time lasted for hours.
But Levinson said some of the patients were not so lucky.
“Their eyes were messed up; some are correctable, some are not,” the attorney said.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.