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Extorting Money in Lasik Fuck Up?

WWW- E! CHANNEL comic Kathy Griffin, who claims she’s losing the sight in her right eye after complications from Lasik surgery, warned “Extreme Makeover” ophtalmologist Dr. Robert K. Maloney that she would go to the media if he didn’t cough up $250,000 – but denies threatening him.

After several rounds of eye surgery performed by Maloney that began in 2001, Griffin developed a condition known as “epithelial cell in-growth.” This occurs in about 1 percent of eye surgery patients, causing blurring of the vision, but it can be managed, and sometimes cured, by having the cells cleaned away.

In January 2004, Maloney told Griffin she would need to have the cells removed, but she never scheduled an appointment. Maloney’s spokeswoman, Jemma Cunningham, told The Post’s Don Kaplan that this was despite numerous letters and calls requesting she schedule a follow-up.

In January this year, Maloney received a claim letter from Griffin’s lawyers demanding $250,000 in damages. It stated, “You should also know that Ms. Griffin has been asked to speak about her eye surgery publicly (both on camera and in print) but she has refrained from doing so. Given the prior publicity and her objective injury, once the suit is filed, she will have no choice but to comment publicly about her action filed against you. This is not a threat. It is a statement of fact.”

Griffin did not file a suit, but met with Maloney on March 8 at Jerry’s Deli in Westwood, Calif. Over coffee, Maloney says, Griffin demanded $100,000 or said she would go to the press. Since then, Griffin has appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” and “At Large with Geraldo Rivera” claiming she fears losing her vision in her right eye.

But Griffin, who is having surgery on Tuesday to try fixing the problem with another doctor, denied demanding a payoff. She told PAGE SIX, “I never said, ‘Give me $100,000 or I will run to the media.'”

She added she no longer believed Maloney “had done anything wrong,” but said she simply wanted to “tell her story” and make the point that Lasik was not risk-free.

“I have lost 30 percent of my vision in my right eye. My vision is blurry and it is very light-sensitive.”

She admitted she did not return to Maloney as he advised, saying, “Yeah, he did tell me to come back, but I was nervous.”


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