HAVE YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE BEEN BURNT BY LIGHTSHEER OR OTHER LASER MACHINE. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET COMPENSATION FOR YOUR PAIN AND SUFFERING.
BELOW IS MY STORY, Don't let them get you!!!
Hello my name is Mandy I am a model and actress. A couple of years ago I would never have dreamed of having laser hair removal. I am not particularly hairy, but about 4 years ago a friend of mine had been having IPL treatments in the UK. I was surprised at how silky her skin felt and how smooth it was and I thought “wow, I would love to have skin like that”. My skin itself was smooth and is very soft, and I normally shave my legs once every month, but the thought of never having to shave and having silky smooth skin was very tempting. I thought of it and decided I will try the treatment some day. I researched several sites and found information on lasers; I also found sites claiming to perform the procedure on darker skin types. I did not think much of it until when in 2005; I landed in the USA from London. I was in California and there were dozens of adverts for laser hair removal in the local newspapers. Eventually I went online and found one that seemed very reputable. I called and told them about my concerns being darker skinned and the fact that I know not all lasers can be used on darker skin types. They assured me they had a machine that would do just fine. I booked an appointment and straight away they took a deposit (half the cost of the procedure) from me on the phone. If I had known what was to come I should have thought twice.
It was mid afternoon on the 21st September 2005; I drove to the particular laser clinic on Santa Monica Boulevard. My first impression when I got there was one of it being very professional establishment. After all they had half my money for the procedure already. I was told to sit in the reception and wait. After about 20mins waiting time a doctor came out and took me in an office asked me some questions about my health and then said he can perform the procedure. I asked him about a patch test which he claimed was not necessary. What did I know...? I proceeded to go into a separate room with an aesthetician. The aesthetician told me to strip waist down and put a cool gel on my legs. She then started to use the machine called LightSheer to perform the procedure. She said it would be like an elastic band hitting my skin. The first time the tip touched my skin I screamed. She continued and said that this was normal. I screamed all through the treatment. She gave me large ice bags to cool the skin as she went along with the laser probe, but it was terribly painful. In the end I had to stop her after a leg and a half and said I could not bear the pain any more. She decided I come back to do the other half leg. I got up and put on my clothes and went to the reception to pay. At the reception my legs started to tremble and I lost balance (it was only later I was told this was a response from my body being in shock from the laser burns). I was taken into the doctors’ office where I was given more ice packs to put on my legs and lay there for an hour. I was then allowed to go home. I was given Ice packs to take home. I still remember my legs burning up as I drove home in the car. My legs felt like they were going to catch fire. When I got home there were blisters right along my legs. My cleaning lady saw them and helped me get in bed. I collapsed and woke up the next morning.
The Dr. Had told me to come back 2 days later for the other half of the leg. When I got there I showed him my blisters and he told me “this is normal and will disappear after 6 weeks”. They asked to do the other half leg and like a fool I let them. This time the Doctor changed the settings but I was in pain again. I left the place with an Ice bag on my legs all over again and blisters.
Pain and Suffering.
I stayed at home for 6 days till my blisters burst, I could not wear tight jeans or any tight clothing. It was during this time a friend advised I take pictures and sue the doctor. I had never sued anyone in my life so did not know where to start. I called several lawyers and eventually found one who decided to take the case. The first thing he did when I arrived at his office, he made a video recording of my legs. It looked horrible on live video. He also took photos.
In the meantime my legs were totally disfigured. I cannot wear shorts or skirts and I have severe discoloration it all seemed like it was all going downhill. I went to see a plastic surgeon who said there was nothing he could do, but if I waited for my legs to heal he could try and treat the scaring. I decided to see a therapist as I became very anxious, nervous and totally paranoid about my legs.
During my visits to the therapist we discussed everything about my life and how it relates to my legs. As a model, I could not work anymore, my agent was appalled at the site of my legs and they just could not get me bookings with legs like that. I had come to LA to try and start an acting career which now also seemed like it had to come to a standstill. I packed my bags and headed back to London and as I could not get any acting work with the state my legs were in. Everyone was horrified when I got back at the site of my legs. They were all very shocked that such a thing could happen from a simple hair removal procedure. I also went to see a couple of hair removal places in the UK and in the USA who told me they would never dream of using a Lightsheer machine on my skin type.
The Law Suit.
I decided that no matter what I must seek compensation in this case and that no matter what I must win. My lawyer in the USA started to get the case together and I researched more and more on the internet. We started filling in 2005 and slowly things started to take shape. First I had to attend a deposition and state what happened, then my lawyers had to get the aestheticians deposition and the doctors’ deposition. There were two separate aestheticians and each had performed the hair removal procedure. They both had to be deposed. I was also asked by the defendants to provide all work receipts for the last 6 years. The defendants’ lawyers wanted everything on me. I managed to get letters from clients, old accounts, job contracts and much more to use in my case. By this time a year had gone past and when we finally got our first court date we were asked to go to mediation first. The plaintiffs refused to settle or offer any money at all at the mediation. Our court date was also moved by the plaintiff as they claimed they needed more time.
My attorneys in the mean time were working hard on my case and found an expert witness who was a laser specialist. She said the burns were very bad and that the doctor was most likely incompetent with the machine. However as fate would have it she dropped out of the case due to other problems with her personal life. It was at this time my lawyer found Dr .B who was a highly respected expert in the laser field. He finally confirmed to my lawyers what we had suspected all along. That the wave length of this particular machine is not suitable for darker skin types IV –VI on the Fitzpatrick scale. The question is why was Lumenis advertising LightSheer as “good for all skin types”? I finally put two and two together and realized that this was the exact reason a lot of aestheticians did not use the machine on darker skin types as they were scared it may burn them. In 2008 we were heading for court in May.
With the new evidence however and the expert witness the plaintiffs were scared. They called us in for another mediation to try to come to a conclusion on the matter. My attorneys were definitely ready for court. Especially with our new expert witness who did not come cheap. Our Mediation was set for May2nd, which was just 4 days before the May 5th court date. We were very sure we will win our case in court with all the new circumstantial evidence we had. On May 2nd we went to mediation where the plaintiffs ended up settling the law suit to the tune of $425, 000. I was happy, I won. But I knew even though the doctor was at fault, the company that manufactures the machine is also at fault. I have taken it upon myself to go after them. If we join in a class action we can all take them together? If your life has been ruined by lasers you deserve compensation...