In Memory of Colin Thomas Dorrian


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Oct. 31st, 1978 – Jul. 4th, 2007

Dorrian, 28, went missing June 25. His family feared the worst after learning he used his credit card to purchase a gun the day he disappeared. Friends searching the area Wednesday spotted Dorrian’s red Ford Ranger pickup truck parked at the Quadrangle and suspected he jumped a fence, returning to an old haunt they frequented as teens.

Dorian’s father, Gerry Dorian, believes his son was driven to suicide by complications from LASIK eye surgery he underwent in 2001. Colin was told that glare and halos would be “no worse than with contacts”.

The following is taken from the following website source.

While many patients achieve satisfactory outcomes, Dorrian began experiencing debilitating visual aberrations following surgery, such as glare, double-vision or ghosting, blurred vision, halos, and impaired night and low-light vision.Gerry Dorian said his son consulted many specialists and closely followed developments in the technology, hoping for a breakthrough that could reverse the damage. Colin took his own life after concluding “that wasn’t going to happen,” Gerry Dorrian said. Colin left a message on his computer indicating he would kill himself if he couldn’t get his vision corrected, Gerry Dorrian said.

“There wasn’t anything else going on in Colin’s life that would have driven him to this,” Gerry Dorrian said. “For some people, the outcome of LASIK can be impossible to deal with.”

“Colin was a very giving person,” said Greg Benson, a Havertown resident and friend of the family who knew Dorrian since childhood. Dorrian was helping Benson’s son prepare for his SATs.

One of Colin’s roommates, Peter Litt, described Dorrian as smart, capable, and willing to take on challenges. Litt noted that Dorrian seemed tired and stressed when he last saw him.

“Colin was bright, dynamic, and charming,” said Gerry Dorrian. “He was the kind of person who could walk into a room and change the room.”

Gerry Dorrian – 2008 FDA Hearing

You can download the presentation that Gerry Dorrian gives from here

An article on LASIK related depression can be read here

Frustration and even sorrow can follow any unsuccessful surgery, but when the procedure leaves a patient with unremitting eye pain or permanently impaired vision, the emotional toll can be particularly severe. One who could not endure it was Colin Dorrian, 28, a patent lawyer and aspiring medical student from suburban Philadelphia. He committed suicide last summer, 6 1/2 years after lasik surgery left him with lasting visual distortions. The surgery was done at a lasik center in Canada that has since closed.

“If I cannot get my eyes fixed, I’m going to kill myself,” he wrote in a note police found on his body. “I just cannot accept the fact that I’m supposed to live like this.” In the note, Dorrian wrote that there had been other instances when he felt down. “I have other problems like most people do. But this is something else,” he wrote. “As soon as my eyes went bad, I fell into a deeper depression than I had ever experienced, and I never really came out of it.”

Who was Colin Dorrian?

The following is taken from the blog of one of Colin’s friends

Colin Dorrian is dead. If he’d hung on a bit longer, you’d all know who he was.

He tracked me down just after the birth of my daughter, before I’d let even a whisper of myself into the net. Agent 036’s address book was inadvertently public, pages and pages deep into the search results- but Colin set out to find me and that’s what he did. We did our best to catch up through the chaos- my stepdaughter and friends were making God’s own racket and I could only safely ignore them so far.

I made a note to return the favor one day. Let a year or two slip, then turn up in his living room with a shit-eating grin and a bottle of something psychoactive.

Why not now? I had a few hours, I could at least run his trail and wish him a good morning.

Colin was reported missing on the third of July, this year. They found him on the evening of my birthday, July fifth, dead behind Haverford State Mental Hospital. He shot himself in the chest.

Again, for the record, Colin was a fucking genius. Went to Cooper Union for engineering and performed with distinction before deciding one day to be a lawyer, instead. So he went to law school, U Michigan,and got in with a law firm long enough to decide that wasn’t for him, either. He practiced patent law out in LA for awhile, then moved back East.

Where he decided to become a doctor. He’d just finished up pre-med and was shopping his (no doubt intimidatingly high) MCAT scores around to medical schools before killing himself.

It’s our loss. Had Colin ever decided to save this god-forsaken country, cure aids, or drag us to the stars…

He’ll never know how often I thought of him, or consulted an imaginary Colin when the time came to Come Up With Something Fast. He’ll never know, because I never carved time out of the fucking race to tell him.

I was a friend of Colin’s in law school. He sat a few rows ahead of me on our very first day of law school. The class was small, and we were instantly friends. He was bright, charismatic and funny. He was regarded by his law school peers as exceptionally talented. I remember most of all that Colin was simply his own man. For better or worse, he had a strong and admirable sense of self. We fell out of touch after law school, which I regret. I kept tabs on him occasionally through mutual friends, but we never reconnected as we said we would on graduation day. I learned today, for the first time, that Colin had passed.

You and I, Jason, don’t know each other. But we both knew Colin, however briefly, and I share with you in your grief.