Judy M's Story

I first met Becky when we were in Dr West’s' office. I had already had 3 surgeries from him, was FINALLY over infections, and she looked sooo ill, I started talking to her. Told her I had the same surgery, tram flap, as she, but I got infection. Her sister who had brought her, nearly jumped in my lap. She said "Becky has infection and I'm afraid this doctor is going to kill her! Can we talk?" We exchanged names and numbers then & there. Another in the waiting room said she had infection, then another--and another said she had had one--like me. I was furious by the time I was seen. I immediately asked him if he had a high infection rate. He said "no, it's really low--you can check on me at the hospital". He instantly said maybe I should see someone else for a second opinion for the current problem.

** Here's another twist: I had a mastectomy, cancer stage 0, but my third bout with it. The surgeon who removed my breast was Dr Marci Dalton. She is the one who recommended Dr West, saying he was "ONE OF THE BEST" ! Can you believe that?! I found out she and her husband, and West were buddies, often doing surgery all hours of the night and were referred to as the midnight doctors. Guess who he wanted to send me to for a second opinion? Marci Dalton's husband!! I also wrote her a scathing letter, asking why she would refer me to a man that she had to know had a drinking problem. She denied the whole thing, saying his name was just on the list. Is that how you refer to just a name---ONE OF THE BEST?!

The next week I went to Becky's home --when she lifted her gown, I started crying! I felt so bad--I apologized and said I was not crying because she looked so bad---it was because of what he had done to her. Her leg had just been "filleted" and it was absolutely scarlet in color. I went to an attorney with her to see what we could do. After reviewing my case and medical photos, I was told I would not win--I just wasn't bad enough! He said it didn't matter what I went through, I ended up okay! Something wrong there, anyway, he returned my retainer. I said I would be more than happy to be a witness for Becky if it was ever needed, but never heard from him. After that, we only spoke on the phone a few times. I even tried to locate her, but lost her. Would love to chat with her---and she should have gotten millions, not the measly bit she did get from West!

About me: Dr West did a tram flap on me the same night--yes about 10pm-- as my breast was removed by Marci Dalton. I went home on about day 5 with 3 drains. About 2 or 3 days later, one drain started to fail. I had infection---and I also was sooo tight, could hardly stand up. Anyway, that was the beginning. About 3+ months of infection---and NEVER was I referred to an infectious disease doctor--he tried to treat me himself. I started to come unsewed, gut and breast--thought my guts were going to fall out. I had never been sick like that before and was terrified and stunk. Some stitches just tore, some he just cut away, pretty scary stuff! My abdomen finally stopped at about 12 to 14" wide, about 3" high and a couple inches deep. My breast also came unsewed here and there. I had visiting nurses 2 times daily, wet to dry packs that I also had to remove myself and he told me to get in the shower saying "water is sterile". I remember the first time I did that, looking into my gut with a mirror --I was shaking so hard that I could hardly see, thought everything was going to fall out. Finally they tried a wound vac on me,--got sooo blistered from the thing, my body would NOT release that tape, and I became anemic.

Then, after about the 3 months, my blood work said normal. I knew I still the infection because I smelled horrible. He said "bodies just smell bad". I also had a fever on occasion. But the blood work passed, so he scheduled a 2nd surgery to sew me back together. In surgery, he was feeling around to see where the mesh ended and a ball of infection about the size of a grapefruit burst in my gut! He worked on my about 5 hours to clean up the mess and sew me back together. I had 7 kinds of bacteria growing in me--West said basically I was growing a sewer. Because it happened in the hospital (Sutter Roseville) he HAD to call in a specialist. I got Dr Randy Martin. They put a pic line in me and I was on Vancomycin for a month. Had to learn how to administer that to myself which was also terrifying! That drug is so strong, for the first few days I sat in bed with a glass of water and a straw in my mouth constantly. The whole inside of my mouth and the outside too, was sores and scabs. Ouch. But---it got the job done. The first thing West said to me after that surgery was "someone up there must love you. If that had burst anywhere else, you probably would have died. Guess I should have listened to you when you said you still had infection." YEP --more visiting nurses, thank goodness for insurance.

On a third surgery, he also completely changed my areola, made it way smaller completely different without my permission! I had no idea he was going to touch that. He said he could make me match better by giving my other breast a "lift", it would be the same size only perky. He reduced it from a D to a B, and made that change, and my reconstructed breast into a C. I was a slow learner---can't believe I let him touch me that third time. I also thought I was the only one going through this. It was after all this that I met Becky, and it was the last straw.

I also went to Brian Klink after all that and had a fourth surgery. He tried to repair as best he could, but I am left with: 2 different sized, way too small for my body--breasts-------my abdomen is completely numb---my belly button is numb and on my pubic hair line------and I have a lump/bulge on either side of my abdomen. Nothing compared to Becky, but none of us should have any of these things!



Darlene D's Story

I went to see Dr. Brian R. West for a breast reduction. He seemed so charming and knowledgable, but I now know that was all a front.

He tore up my breast and ruined me. After the surgery, I was infected and my breast wrapped around my entire upper body like a tire or donut. One big giant breast. I had holes everywhere. A month afterward, I almost died and was rushed to the hospital due to the infections.

For over a year and a half, I had a hole 1 1/2 inches deep and over 12 inches wide that I to pack with gauze because of the infection. Also, I spent over 2 months in the hyper oxygen chamber 2 hours per day due to the infections. This was a "Nightmare." The suffering, the pain was more than I could bare. I wish this on no one.

What makes me even more angry is that Dr. West sent me a letter dated April 14, 2003 that he was closing his practice and the envelope was stamped April 26, 2003; however, my surgery was on April 18, 2003. (see above) He was in such a rush to do my surgery, to make his money quickly, close his practice in a hurry, file for bankruptcy and had the nerve to list all his patients in it (including Medi_Cal, who was my insurance for this surgery). He knew he would be sued from many patients, so he filed for bankruptcy before any of us had a chance to sue for medical malpractice. He had planned his getaway very cleverly. But unfortunately, he injured so many before the closure of his office.

How could he have done this to me, knowing he was closing his practice. The suffering and pain I have gone through and continue to go through, not to mention the so-called breasts I'm left with. It looks like I have 4 breasts. I hope and pray the Medical Board revokes his license.

Becky Anderson's Story

Dr. West performed a tram flap surgery on me, when I was not a candidate. I’m a smoker and I have hepatitis C. I found out later. I consented to the tram flap not knowing that I wasn’t a candidate. I was totally unaware of the risk.

The first surgery Dr. West did was to cut my abdomen open to help the blood flow. Then Dr. Morse went in and did the bilateral. Then Dr. West went in and did the tram flap.

Dr. West constantly performed over a dozen surgeries on me after the tram flap. There are too many surgeries to remember but the majority of them were done at Mercy San Juan in Carmichael, CA. He kept debreeding and doing more surgeries. There were times where he cut dead tissue and placed it on my chest. He didn’t even bother to put it somewhere else where I didn’t have to see it. He would cut in different parts of my abdomen. I had tons of tunnels. I had to constantly do dressings for 2 years, wound care and had repeated repeated infections.

I was suppose to have chemo but could not because I was infected and had a massive open wound. My chemo was delayed by 2 months and I could only have 4 months instead of 6 months.

The very last surgery Dr. West performed was NOT CONSENTED.

He was suppose to remove the mesh and replace it; use the oblique muscles to cover a dime size hole, but instead he cut the muscle from my right leg and filleted me open. He did not have my consent to use my leg. He asked me and I said NO. He even measured my leg and said it wouldn’t work. He said the muscle was too short. This surgery was done at Sutter Roseville.

After this surgery, I was in and out of hospitals. There are just too many to mention in this complaint. Then I saw Dr. Klink after what Dr. West did to me. He worked at the Plastic Surgery Center in Sacramento. He did what he could to help me and removed mesh. It had stuck to the bowels and was colonized with MRSA. I was on a wound vac for one month at downtown Mercy General Hospital. After a month, Dr. Klink removed skin from my left leg to cover the omentum.

I don’t even know how I survived all of this but I am here to tell my story. And it needs to be told. During all this time that Dr. West treated me, he never treated me for infections. As a matter fact he never knew I lost so much blood and needed a transfusion. A doctor in the hospital ordered the transfusion and Dr. West walked in and said, “Oh, I didn’t know you lost so much blood.”

At one point while I was in the hospital, I went to the emergency room and they admitted me at Mercy San Juan in Carmichael. I called over and over to Dr. West’s office to tell them I was in the hospital. In the meantime, Dr. Kailath came to me and finally got a hold of Dr. West three days later. And Dr. West told Dr. Kailath he was on his way to see me. He never showed up because he got thrown in jail for a DUI. So he was on his way to see me and possibly treat me but he was under the influence of alcohol.

Dr. Kailath constantly told me to find another doctor and he even tried to find one for me, but no one would take me.

I will never ever be the same. I have lived like this since 1999. I don’t feel like a woman. I don’t look like woman. My intestines are on the outside of my body; it’s like an alien with brains. I can literally lie down and watch my intestines move. I have massive, massive scaring from my neck down to my knees. My pursuit for happiness, health and life will be forever altered because of Brian R. West. His license needs to be revoked or there will be more people like me or worse.

I eventually sued Dr. West for Medical Malpractice and he settled out of court with me for $250,000. However, the money will never bring my health and body back to normal.


Tina Minasian's Story

I went in for a tummy tuck consultation in 2001 and later in 2002 for further consultation. During this time, I consulted with Dr. West again about the tummy tuck and he decided that a total body lift, a more complex procedure was best for me. He stated a tummy tuck will not leave me with an hour glass figure. He said the tummy tuck will leave me with a box like figure. To make a long story short, I went ahead with the surgery because I believed and trusted Dr. West’s opinion; especially, because he was a doctor, the expert. The body lift operation was a total abomination and mutilation of my body. He cut me around my entire waist line, like a tree trunk. The stitches were extremely, extremely tight, I could barely move. Experts have said that I was never a candidate for the surgery to begin with. This surgery is for people that have had gastric bypass surgery or weight loss of over 100 lbs. or more.

After learning West closed his practice literally within 4 months after my surgery, I panicked and called every attorney in the Sacramento yellow pages until someone would listen to my story. Finally after a year, an attorney took my case. I learned that Dr. West was abusing alcohol, had financial problems, filed for bankruptcy, had several medical malpractice lawsuits filed against him, and he was dealing with a former fiancé who had hired a hit man to kill him.

I had thought that by filing a lawsuit with the expectation that the Medical Board would be notified but I was wrong. The board is supposedly only notified if a plaintiff settles or gets a judgment for more than $29,999. This is the magical number. If you settle for more than this amount the superior court clerk is suppose to notify the Medical Board but like I found out, many clerks failed to do this and so the board would not know. Knowing this, I filed a medical complaint with the Medical Board of California and their expert found that Dr. West was grossly negligent with the surgery he performed on me. They also said as of September 2006 Dr. West had 5 cases of extreme departure (gross negligence) and is currently under investigation again. I am appalled that he has the gall to continue to operate given all of us who have been infected and disfigured.

I hope and pray that the Medical Board of California finally revokes Dr. Brian R. West’s license (like they should have) and never ever let him hurt another person again. Like Becky Anderson said "He should never be able to practice medicine again, let alone diagnose a sore throat. He shouldn’t be able to practice on us like ginnie pigs. He shouldn’t be able to practice any type of medicine.” And like the Medical expert said, “He just doesn’t have the technical skills that a surgeon should have in his field. You just cannot go and take a weekend seminar or class and come back an expert in that field. It takes years of practice and education."

File a Complaint Against a Doctor

Here’s a list of things to do if you have a medical complaint against Dr. West or any doctor:

  1. File a complaint with the California Medical Board, go to the California Medical Board’s website and print out the Medical Complaint form, read the instructions and complete it.
  2. Make copies of your complaint along with your photos, before and after surgery and any other documentation you feel is necessary to make your case.
  3. Hand deliver or send a return receipt to the California Medical Board located at 1426 Howe Ave. Suite 54 Sacramento, CA 95825-3236. If you hand deliver your complaint form, make sure you have two copies, one for them to keep date stamped and one for your records date stamped as your proof of delivery.
  4. Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney to see if you have a case and bring your records, documentation and photos.
  5. Call the California Medical Board within 30 days to see if your case has been assigned to an Investigator 916-263-2382. Follow up periodically with the Investigator to see if they need anything further from you and what the status of your case is.
  6. Be patient. It took 11 months for me to hear back from the Medical Board. I was told they are short staffed and they receive hundreds of complaints.

Questions to Ask Before You Have Plastic Surgery

Here’s a list of questions to ask your doctor before you have plastic surgery:

  • Gather names of plastic surgeons from friends or your local medical society
  • Go to your county court house or website and check Civil and Criminal Records to see how many times he or she has been sued, or arrested.
  • Check with the state medical board website to make sure the doctors are in good standing. Log on to the state medical board's public document search to find out.
  • Meet with the doctors and ask questions
  • Is he or she "Board Certified", which means they have received specific training in the field in which they work? Confirm the information with the society, and ask how one becomes certified.
  • How many times has the doctor performed the particular procedure?
  • When was the last time the doctor performed that operation?
  • See pictures of other patients who went through similar procedures.
  • Research the procedure yourself
  • Weigh the risk vs. the benefits