She only went in for a consult. She was in her mid 20’s and thought she might look better with a little plastic surgery. The plastic surgeon was good looking, well dressed and very confident.

She decided to go home and think about the proposed surgery. As she’s about ready to walk out, the plastic surgeon says to her “You know, I could do your eyelids in a quick procedure and that would make you look magnificent!”

That was intriguing. It would be quick and simple. “Yes! I’ll do it.”

She has the procedure and when she returns for follow up, she notices that she can’t close her eyelids. They go down about 3/4 of the way but no more.

The doctor says to just rub her eyelids and it’ll go down over time. She’s never heard of such a thing.

She follows his instructions, but it doesn’t work. 

Since she can’t close her eyelids, her eyes are drying out. He prescribes a liquid to put into her eyes to prevent them from drying out. That only hydrates her eyes but doesn’t solve the problem of why her eyelids are not going down.

She begins to be very self-conscious. She can’t go into work looking like she does. It’s really freakish. She starts wearing sunglasses in to work. She has to tell her boss why she’s wearing sunglasses inside. He understands. Her co-workers don’t.

Over the next six months, every answer by the plastic surgeon is making less and less sense. Nor is anything getting better. He offers to do another surgery to fix the problem and the patient wisely says “No.”

She goes to another plastic surgeon for a second opinion. He is blunt and to the point.

“He cut too much of the muscle and that’s why your eyelid doesn’t shut. It will never close if you leave it this way. You need a corrective surgery to fix this and there’s no guarantee it will work.”

She had no choice. She was desperate. She would hide under her desk at work and cry since she was so ashamed of how she looked and what she let herself get into.

Months later she decided to have the corrective surgery. That fixed her to about 85% of what she considered ‘normal’. Certainly better than where she was before the fix.

When she came to me to evaluate her matter I spoke with her treating plastic surgeon and also had her records reviewed by another board certified plastic surgeon.

My expert confirmed that the original plastic surgeon violated many safety rules and violated the standard of basic care. But this gets better. Much better.

During the lawsuit I had an opportunity to question the plastic surgeon at a question & answer session, under oath, which is also known as a deposition. The surgeon arrived late and came dressed in what looked like pajama pants and a ripped sweat shirt. Odd attire considering most plastic surgeons are meticulous dressers.

I also learned in my research of this doctor that when he was in training to become a plastic surgeon he actually sued the hospital he was working for. Very nasty business. He was awarded a considerable amount of money against the very hospital that employed him.

This was fertile ground to discuss with him during his deposition. 

I should tell you that I am always professional and polite when I question a doctor. That strategy works much better than being obnoxious and nasty. This deposition turned nasty very quickly. 

The doctor was arrogant. He was cocky. He was refusing to answer my questions. But it gets even better.

I had also learned that this doctor was being investigated by the New York State Department of Health. Not only had my client filed a complaint with the Department of Health but scores of other women had done the same exact thing. Patients with awful injuries. Patients who had been maimed. Patients who had been deformed at this doctor’s hands.

Shortly after the doctor’s deposition I learned that the NYS Department of Health had revoked the doctor’s license to practice medicine in New York. Why? They deemed him to be an immediate health and safety hazard to the public. They would no longer allow him to practice medicine. Rightfully so.

Ironically, the surgeon refused to accept responsibility for his actions. He claimed he did nothing wrong. His attorney advised me that they had a plastic surgery expert who was prepared to testify at trial that everything was done correctly and what happened was not his fault.

Needless to say, within a month after the doctor had his medical license revoked, the defense called and said they’d like to settle. About time.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer