Negative Online Reviews

Negative Online Reviews

Negative Online Reviews, Opportunity to Show Transparency, Randall V. Wong, M.D.Negative online reviews can be a good thing.  Negative feedback, that is, poor reviews, complaints online, etc., can be maddening.

You don’t even have to have a website.  These days, if a disgruntled patient or employee wants to post something negative about you or your practice, there are countless places where a negative review or comment can be made…blogs, Yelp, Facebook, etc.

You can’t stop it, even if the comments are wrong or misleading…and I just got one.

Respond to Negative Feedback

I advise every doctor to monitor the Internet for both positive and negative reviews.  The reason to find positive feedback is to acknowledge the efforts of the author and thank them as well as to demonstrate you are willing to engage digitally.  This type of transparency is very important for a doctor to be successful online.

The reason is to find negative feedback and neutralize the damage.  While the doc may diffuse the situation, more importantly, a nicely worded “rebuttal” will serve the doctor well by displaying a more human side of himself/herself to future readers.

Also, an unanswered accusation may seem to admit guilt.

Just recently, I was alerted of a “negative” comment about my recent care of a patient.  It was not posted on my blog, nor on a public forum such as Facebook, Google +, etc.  Instead, it was posted in a private community forum (you have to sign up to join).

The Negative Comment

Here’s the negative comment.



I’m 42 years old and had a FOV 6 months ago done by dr. Wong. I read a lot on this board, but i don’t like posting myself. All the postings about Dr. Wong made me mad, so I had to get an account and post.

Besides all the positive stories about Wong, here also very bad experiences. My FOV by Wong went completely wrong. I had hypotony and RD. They tried to fix it, but now, six months after my FOV, my vision is still poor!

when I decided to go for a FOV I knew the risks. So that is not the main thing I am complaining about. But it makes me mad if Wong only tells about the good stories and the great statts. Look at me….dr. Wong also makes mistakes and he is lying about that.

I still think he is a good doctor, in my case it was just bad luck, but he had to be honsest and not lying about statts. I’m sure the are more people who had a FOV by Wong and had a bad outcome.

as i said ai’m not posting a lot, but I could’nt stand the lies by dr. Wong anymore.


My Responsibilities to Every Patient

I have several responsibilities when answering any review, positive or negative, on an open and public forum.  First and foremost, I must maintain this patient’s right to privacy.  No matter how wrong the patient can be,  the offending patient must remain anonymous.

I can’t use his or her name, refer to any identifiable information, etc.  Privacy is every patients right as mandated by HIPAA.

I personally feel that I should respond with limited emotion, if at all.  My intent is to somewhat diffuse the review, but more importantly, to show my readers and future readers that I am willing to engage and I am transparent.  These are key attributes to any doctors’ success online.

My Response

As this poster acknowledges, there are risks with any surgery.  These risks are explained in detail prior to scheduling any surgery with me.  I am quite frank about the possibility of blindness from infection and/or loss of vision from retinal detachment.

The risks of blinding infection (endophthalmitis) are lower with vitrectomy than with cataract surgery.  The risks of retinal detachment are the about same as cataract surgery.

I have personally had one possible infection in 22 years of medical practice.  My rate of complications from retinal detachment are 1-2% overall (this includes all types of retinal surgery, including recurrent retinal detachments), but have dropped significantly since the advent of the safe 25 gauge vitrectomy systems.

In the last two years, I am personally aware of 2 cases of retinal detachment following vitrectomy performed for floaters.  One was repaired successfully and without loss of vision.  This is the second, though I never had the privilege of actually seeing this patient with the actual problem.  I found out through a colleague.

I urge all of the readers of this forum to seriously consider the risks of FOV or any surgery.  To say there are no risks would be a lie. Every surgeon should carefully discuss potential risks and benefits of every procedure so there are no misgivings or misunderstandings.

What Does This Mean?

Most reviews are great and are constructive.

Negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad.  Yes, they do evoke emotion, but aside from that, they can be turned around and used as an opportunity for the doctors show a willingness to engage and to demonstrate transparency.  By resisting the temptation to right every wrong, the negative review allows the doc to show his/her human side for future readers while keeping in mind that not every patient is going to be totally happy or fair.

The picture of the lemons….make some lemonade!



Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Fairfax, Virginia

  • Bill Dean
    Posted at 12:23h, 07 June Reply

    I had a FOV with Dr. Wong about 4 months ago. Before I decided to go through with it, I did much research and knew the risks and Dr. Wong also told me about the risks of the surgery. Any person should know that that there are risks with any surgery including just the most minor of surgeries.
    In this case you should have called Dr. Wong and told him of the problems you were having instead of just posting something like that out of anger.
    Dr. Wong changed my life with the FOV surgery and it was the best decision that I have ever made. But if I had problems afterward I certainly would tell him about it and I am sure that Dr. Wong would do what he could to remedy it. He does this to help people………..

  • Gordon
    Posted at 12:39h, 07 June Reply

    Great response Doctor!

  • Matt
    Posted at 13:07h, 07 June Reply

    It appears that a portion of your post did not show up. “This is the second, though i never had the privelage….” Please expand on this statement or add in what never showed up.

  • Scott
    Posted at 14:19h, 07 June Reply

    So glad you addressed this review. You seem like such an outstanding human being I was hoping there were no skeletons in the closet! Hope to see you soon.

  • Miguel Matias
    Posted at 16:57h, 07 June Reply

    Hello Randy.

    I stand by you as a completely honest and very caring and professional Human being.

    You have always made very clear to all your patients and followers of all the risks involved in eye surgeries, or any other kind of surgery.

    From you i always had reassurance and the utmost transparency.

    Even though i have not yet traveled half-way across the globe to see you for floater only vitrectomy, i trust you and will be visiting for a FOV as soon as it is possible.

    No second thoughts or doubts. I know what to expect because you told be in extensive detail of all the possible outcomes.

    I feel for this patient but i also think he should have just communicated his afflictions to you, his doctor, at a personal level and not over the internet.

    Props to you for standing upright through this ordeal and having an honest response to it.

    Lemonade indeed my friend,

    All the best.

    Miguel Matias

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 13:02h, 08 June Reply


      Thanks for the support and kind comments. As always, thanks for following and contributing.


  • Pedro
    Posted at 17:09h, 07 June Reply

    Thank you so much .

  • Dan
    Posted at 11:17h, 08 June Reply

    I was trying to deal with one particular review in the past. I think we briefly spoke about it. I wanted to respond very badly and address the issue. I was heavily advised by OMIC not to respond at all! They supported this with a few articles that were of the same opinion. Has handling these issues and thinking process changed?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 13:12h, 08 June Reply


      There are two views regarding an online presence.

      One view is proactive. For a doc to successfully engage the Internet, she/he must be willing to demonstrate a degree of transparency. With this in mind, the doc should do everything possible to engage his followers, including answering all questions and comments on his own blog. To take it a step further, each and every review left on other review sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, Google +, etc.) should be answered.

      In this case, by answering a negative comment, it shows I’m willing to be transparent and engage. This is crucial for future readers to witness.

      The second view is non-engagement. This is OMIC’s stance. They say don’t reply. Their goal is not to market. Their single goal is to avoid liability.

      If done properly, both can be achieved.


  • Fred Ehren
    Posted at 12:25h, 08 June Reply

    Dr, Wong is one of the most if not THE most standup doctor I have ever had the privilege of having perform surgery on me. Dr. Wong has changed my life and I will not forget it. I have expierienced many many doctors due to my wife’s and mothers illnesses and can state the above without exception. Not to mention having had three vitrectomies. One of which was performed by Dr. Wong. Will soon be getting other eye done.
    Thank you once again Dr. Wong

  • Dan
    Posted at 13:54h, 08 June Reply

    Thanks for your insight and thoughtful response. When we have a chance I’d like to discuss this a little further.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 10:07h, 12 June Reply


      It’s a new world which, in my estimation, very few doctors actually understand, yet realize there is some merit to engaging patients on the Internet.

      Obviously, I’m one of them.


  • Feilx Alveres
    Posted at 08:36h, 20 June Reply

    HI Dr Wong

    Glad to see your professional response. Over the past years health care has changed in that patients have much better access to information and have become more educated consumers or in some cases the more you learn the less you know. However patients should educate themselves as much as possible and combine that knowledge with the experience of thier physician to fully undestand results possible to avoid blaming the phyisican for all the outcomes. Being transparant is key by physicians to enhnce the confidence of thier patients. Great to see both the good and bad results are disclosed here.

  • Thomas Nolan
    Posted at 20:04h, 20 July Reply

    I have surgery,eye problem started after,getting treatment,ask eye doc for info site,he said I’ll have to give it some thought,just wanted to say finding your site is very helpful to me,info=hope,not understanding or having a path to info,what ,how,etc,is very very hard,thank you,you are a wonderful person that is human.

  • Pedro
    Posted at 08:58h, 26 August Reply

    Hello Dr. Wong ,thank you so much for all the good information we need many more doctors like you God bless you.

  • ed
    Posted at 00:05h, 18 November Reply


  • ed
    Posted at 00:09h, 18 November Reply

    My question is have you had only 2 RDs or only 2 have resulted in complications.

    Also if complications from retinal detachment are 1-2% does this mean you only have performed 50-100 procedures.

    Maybe you would like to respond to be more concise.

  • ed
    Posted at 01:15h, 18 November Reply

    Also I have been following your stats and you say you only had 1 hypotomy & 1 Rd in many years. Then all of a sudden within several months there have been 3-4 issues with frill and another RD & Hypotomy. Why the sudden rash of complaints?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 07:05h, 26 November Reply

      Dear ed,

      Thanks for the constructive support. To answer your question, I am aware of one RD in the last several years of patients who’ve undergone FOV, despite 100’s of vitrectomy for other reasons.

      Issues of frill may be an issue that is difficult to explain, but certainly is not a complication. Floaters were successfully removed either completely or >99% gone. That’s the purpose of the surgery, right?

      To the uninitiated, frill may indeed be a major complaint following successful vitrectomy, but it doesn’t count as a complication.

      Thanks for the support.

      Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Retina Specialist
      Fairfax, VA 22030

  • ed
    Posted at 01:17h, 18 November Reply

    1 last question. What do you attribute RD to when you should not be touching retina if done correctly. Is it do to a retina touch with tools?

  • Cal
    Posted at 10:48h, 13 December Reply

    Frill may not be a complication but many describe it as annoying as floaters.

    If i were a patient, i would rather know my surgeons stats than the average.

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