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Alleged cosmetic surgery gone wrong prompts investigation

05/30/2013 09:50 EDT | Updated 07/30/2013 05:12 EDT
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia has been ordered to re-investigate an alleged case of cosmetic surgery gone wrong after a man claims he underwent chest surgery without a proper anesthetic.

The Health Professions Review Board says the college must consider additional evidence the patient says will back up his claim.

"The doctor said to one of the nurses that it is too bad the anesthesiologist had already left," the patient wrote in his complaint.

"Once he started to work on me, I tried to focus on my breathing as much as possible since there were parts of my chest that were not numb. I started cringing and taking deep breaths as I could feel the knife cutting me."

Neither the patient nor the surgeon are identified in the Health Professions Review Board decision, which was released earlier this month.

The man underwent an abdominoplasty and a surgery to reduce his breasts in 2010, but had two further surgeries because the first operation had not achieved the "desired outcome of 'a flat chest with no overhang.'"

His complaint pertains to the third surgery, which the surgeon performed for free. The man claims his belly button is still one centimetre off.

"I suffered, I was traumatized," he wrote. "Also, as I am not satisfied with my surgery results, I would like that to be rectified. However, because of the last surgery, I am not comfortable with [the Registrant]."

The man wrote a detailed description of what he said was a traumatic experience.

"My body was making dramatic movements throughout the surgery. Even my chest was moving up and down, jerking from all the pain, which also concerned me," he writes. "I can’t imagine how they could cut me while my chest was jerking so much."

In response to the complaint laden with exclamation marks, the doctor wrote that his staff all remembered testing the complainant with forceps to make sure he was "frozen."

"We certainly trying to 'hear' your concerns throughout," the surgeon writes. "Through most of the procedure you said 'fine' when asked if you were OK!"

In dismissing the complaint, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. considered evidence from the doctor, his operating room records and a nurse.

But the complainant asked why they chose not to interview a second nurse who was present during the surgery or consider video of the operation. Prior to the surgery, he said he was asked to sign a consent form agreeing to be filmed.

In its submissions, the college said there was no basis to think those lines of inquiry would "bear fruit."

"I could not disagree more," Health Professions Review Board chair Lorianna Bennet wrote in the decision to order a new investigation. "If the surgery proceeded as the registrant says it did, these additional lines of investigation will undoubtedly reflect that."

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