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!