Judy S's story

Dr. Jay C. Owens (Dr. performing mastectomy) recommended Brian R. West another doctor with the Sutter Group. (Dr. West explained I could have either surgery, that being stomach or implant for the reconstruction of my left breast. I chose the implant.) Dr. West told me, with this choice I would have to have this implant changed in ten years time. (The end of July 2000 the mastectomy was performed and first implant was placed in my chest.) I decided to stop inflations to implant after one treatment until I had finished chemo and radiation, which I had discussed with my oncologist Dr. Bobolis. Starting back with Dr. West (West now in Roseville , approximately end of April 2001, (Dr. West said inflations weren’t going correctly, so I went into surgery to have a new implant put in my left breast area). Went back to his office, was cleared to make next appointment to start inflations. Postponed next appointment for a week due to exhaustion. (Then went in for first inflation to the second implant).

I then had a scheduled appointment with Dr. Bobolis and told her during the office visit that I had the first inflation. Dr. Bobolis began shaking her head, and I said, what do you mean? She would not say, but continued to shake her head. I said I have another inflation tomorrow, she shook her head again. I said, the inflation is too soon and she acknowledged with shaking her head. Going to my appointment with Dr. West the following day I explained what had taken place the day before. (He said (Dr. West) the inflation was not too soon, but checking my chest I had scabs along the incision and he ripped the length of the incision open.) I remained taped together from that Wednesday until Friday evening when the third implant surgically was placed in my chest). He told his assistant Karen, I would have the inflations when I wanted them. I told Karen, I’m not a doctor, but because of what has transpired I will take a slower road.

Then calling to make appointment, I was told Dr. West was sick and wouldn’t be in his office for a while. I thought this might be a good thing to give my chest time to heal, and I time to rest. He returned to his office approximately a month and a half and said a woman was trying to kill him and he couldn’t come into his office part-time and still collect his medical benefits (Karen his assistant was also in the room). (I went through all inflations necessary and the end of 2002. Approximately November 2005 the permanent implant was inserted in my chest being the fourth surgery.) On seeing Dr. West for a follow up, (I talked to him about my permanent implant, as it was much higher than my right breast.) (He said, it had slipped and he gave me a white elastic strap to use. The strap never helped the location of the permanent implant; it remained up near my left collar bone looking more like a tumor than a breast). Then he was gone, had blown the coop!

I was sent to Gary Smith’s office for my next implant check and on entering the room he (Gary Smith) had a smile, until his assistant told him I was a patient of Brian West. Dr. Gary Smith’s demeanor took an immediate turn and I have never been treated so rudely. He sat in a chair, never leaving that chair to check my permanent implant. He had no advice, nor direction in regards to the high placement of the implant. I asked him about the last step the making of the nipple. I brought up the choice of using the skin from the leg or a tattoo. Dr. Smith said no one does the tattooed anymore. I said, Dr. West does, as we had discussed the same topic on the last office visit. Dr. Smith said nothing. When I was leaving Dr. Smith’s office his assistant said, he doesn’t get paid for this. On my next visit with my Oncologist Dr. Bobolis and I talked about the negative appointment with Dr. Smith and I decided not to finish the breast (the nipple procedure).

(Then October 8, 2003 approx.) I became very ill with flu like symptoms. The evening of the seventh day, I was finally able to get in the shower, when I saw my chest area very red. I called Dr. Bobolis and saw her the following day. She put me on an antibiotic. I wasn’t improving, she sent me for an echogram. This person was upset when he saw me and called Dr. Bobolis. He tried to get me right into see a plastic surgeon but she could not take me until the next morning. I was put in the hospital that same day. I was put on antibiotics through IV (pic-line) trying to keep the infection from spreading through out my body. Many pictures of my chest were taken showing gross infection. Implant was removed and the plastic surgeon said that only one doctor at her practice would use this implant due to the amount of radiation treatment undergone, and only if the patient insisted, and that it would come with a strict warning of the likelihood of ever keeping the implant. If you remember I was told I had to change the implant after 10 years. After 5 surgeries, I wore the permanent implant less than 1 year. The plastic surgeon asked if Dr. West knew of my radiation treatment. I responded, he certainly did! Today I live with a scar from the infection, and the skin I grew to make the breast could not be cut off due to further infection (the skin was rolled over). I have gone to Dr. Smith’s office requesting my records, I was told to call Channel 13. I called Channel 13 and was told to contact the Medical Board.


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