She was a beautiful young woman, yet she was very self-conscious. She decided she wanted a face lift. She sought out a young and aggressive plastic surgeon here in NY. He was charming. He was convincing. He told her she could have her face lift, but while he was there, why not also do her eyelids?
He made it sound so easy. So simple. It would be an extra few minutes under anesthesia in his office.
She was hooked. She said “Yes.”
Following the surgery she couldn’t close her eyelids. It was weird. No matter what she did, her eyelids didn’t close all the way.
When she went for follow up to the plastic surgeon, he told her to massage her eyelids and not to worry. Everything would be fine.
Except it wasn’t.
She was given drops to hydrate her eyes. They were now at risk of drying out since here eyelids wouldn’t close. Finally, one of the eyelids dropped and she could no longer lift her eyelid up!
Her plastic surgeon told her she had ptosis. She didn’t care what he called it. She just wanted it fixed.
The face lift went fine, but this complication with her eyelids was horrendous. She looked awful. One eyelid closed only half-way, the other closed and wouldn’t open. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t do her daily activities. She literally hid under her desk at work since this was so bad.
When she came to me for help I had an expert plastic surgeon review her records and examine her. His conclusion was that the original plastic surgeon cut too much of the muscle in and around the eyelid leading to this terrible result. This never should have happened.
I started a lawsuit on behalf of this young, once pretty woman. During the lawsuit I had an opportunity to question the plastic surgeon at his deposition, which is a pre-trial question and answer session given in the attorney’s office, under oath.
This particular deposition was held in the doctor’s office. The surgeon arrived late and was casually dressed in a sweatshirt and sweatpants. That’s unusual in itself. Most plastic surgeons are meticulous dressers and love wearing the most trendy and stylish clothes.
It turns out that this doctor had only performed a handful of these eyelid procedures in his career. He lied to the patient about his experience level in doing these eyelid operations.
A few other shocking facts were revealed during questioning.
He had been sued multiple times. That in and of itself is not significant. The results and outcomes of those cases are. The other remarkable fact was that this doctor had sued the hospital he worked in when he was a doctor in training performing his surgery residency.
The facts of that lawsuit are not pertinent for this article, but it was very revealing about his personality and his belief that he did absolutely nothing wrong with this patient. He explained this away as just a ‘routine complication’.
Not so, my expert explained.
Here’s what was truly remarkable. During this lawsuit I learned that this doctor was being brought up on charges before the New York State medical board and the New York State Department of Health. Turns out they yanked his medical license since they felt he was an imminent danger to patients.
What effect do you think this had on my client’s case?
A significant one. This meant there was absolutely no way the defense could try this case. Ever. It was merely a matter of time before the defense recognized they had no way out except to settle this case.
I’m pleased to report that I was able to settle this case successfully shortly after the doctor’s pre-trial testimony.