Shellie’s Medical Malpractice Nightmare

and her

Fight for Freedom of Speech

Final Thoughts

I could have lived with the verdict had I gotten a fair trial, but I believe I did not get a fair trial.

Michael Tarpey portrayed me to the jury as a dishonest woman attempting to get some money by lying about poor Dr. Kagan.   Good old Dr. Kagan – who was kind enough to do a free surgical procedure on me. Robert S. Kagan M.D. – who got a lawsuit filed against him in return for his kindness, due to my disappointed expectations. According to Michael Tarpey, I went to doctor after doctor to carry out my evil plan to file a lawsuit against Dr. Kagan because of my “disappointed expectations.”According to Michael Tarpey, Mr. Deratany also lied to and manipulated my treating physicians, again only to get money from poor Dr. Kagan because of my “disappointed expectations.” A mastectomy patient doesn’t have huge expectations of having breasts that look amazing.  I would have been so very happy with breasts that look normal and didn’t have blood and puss dripping from them.

It was a living hell to sit quietly and listen to the defense’s endless misrepresentations during that trial. My being called a liar over and over throughout the trial was almost unbearable. I was first victimized by Dr. Robert S. Kagan on an operating table, unconscious and unable to defend myself, and then over and over again during the trial.

The malpractice suit that I filed against Robert S. Kagan M.D., was not about money. If the verdict came back in my favor, the amount of money that the jury would have awarded me in damages would not have mattered. I just wanted Dr. Kagan to be held accountable for what he did to me.

There was a lot of information that we were not permitted to present to the jury as such information could cause them to feel “sorry” for me. There were many pictures of my breasts after Dr. Robert S. Kagan’s surgery injured me that the defendant fought to keep the jury from seeing and won. It would have been “prejudicial”. I don’t understand how such pictures could be considered to be prejudicial against Dr. Kagan as the pictures showed my breasts after they were operated on and disfigured by Dr. Kagan? The jury never learned that I did not have and could not get medical insurance due to my having breast implants. As a result of being uninsured, I was forced to spend over $50,000.00 on medical care and related expenses from the time of my botched surgery by Dr. Kagan through the time of the trial.  

The costs that I paid in taking Robert S. Kagan M.D.  to trial were approximately $40,000.00 out of my pocket. After losing the trial, Mr. Deratany had repeatedly billed me for an additional $9,000.00 of expenses that I believe I do not owe.   There were many charges that I believe were not incurred for my case.  At a later date Mr. Deratany stated to me and then to my husband “you do not have to pay the remainder of the expenses.”

Michael Tarpey told the jury that I filed a lawsuit against Dr. Kagan because of “disappointed expectations.” I cannot imagine that anybody would spend so much money and put themselves through the horrendous stress of a trial due to “disappointed expectations.”I can imagine someone putting themselves through that kind of stress and expense looking for justice, because that is exactly what I did. Perhaps the jury would have found Michael Tarpey’s statement as to why I sued Robert S. Kagan M.D. as absurd as it really was if they had known all the information. Mr. Tarpey did a great job in making sure that didn’t happen. I saw first-hand why Mr. Tarpey advertises himself as specializing in defending medical negligence cases and why Dr. Kagan hires Mr. Tarpey’s firm each time he gets sued for malpractice.  I believe that Michael Tarpey is the main reason that I did not get a fair trial.

I continue to live every day of my life, as Dr. Stanton-Hicks testified that I likely would, with pain in my breasts. It is very hard to accept that I have to live with this pain due to a surgery that I did not want and did not consent to. The last option offered to me that possibly would give me some pain relief is to have a spinal cord stimulator surgically implanted in my body. Since there are risks involving that option that I am not willing to take, including paralysis, I am currently just trying to live with the pain.

I have valid issues to appeal the verdict and initially filed a notice of appeal. I then learned that the appeal would cost a minimum of $25,000.00 and to retry the case, should we win the appeal, would cost at least another $25,000.00. I cannot afford this financially or emotionally. I made the decision to drop the appeal and to walk away. Welcome to our justice system!

Commentary Regarding Elective Surgery

I would urge anyone thinking of surgery when the surgery is not absolutely medically necessary to think long and hard before doing it. Even in doing all the research available to you on your prospective physician you likely will not have complete information on the doctor. That fact is a frightening reality, as you will literally be putting your life in his/her hands.  Mistakes made during a surgery could be with you for the rest of your life.

Commentary Regarding Filing a Lawsuit

Should you become injured by a doctor’s negligence, choose your attorney wisely. After the loss of my medical malpractice case, I would advise a plaintiff not to hire an attorney from a small firm.  I don’t  think that a small firm has the time or staff to completely focus on and prepare your case. In an article titled, “Small Firm Attorneys Face the Most Disciplinary Actions,” Robert Wiener writes, “Unfortunately, the bulk of the complaints is against small solo practitioners.”Ellen Pansky, a partner in a California firm, said, “Small firms do not have enough support staff to keep track of all the phone calls and letters they receive. If a lawyer is involved in another trial, goes on vacation, or gets sick, there may be no one there to take care of the client’s problems.” As with a prospective doctor, check out your prospective attorney through your state’s governing agency regulating attorneys . In Illinois that governing agency is the Illinois Registration & Disciplinary Commission. Do not expect much from them. The Illinois Registration & Disciplinary Commission receives approximately 6000 complaints a year and only investigates 2%. Unfortunately, it is a very similar scenario as in checking out your doctor. You will only be told of complaints against the lawyer if the lawyer has been found guilty of the matter complained of.

As I previously stated, the Illinois Registration & Disciplinary Commission will likely not investigate an attorney that you may file a complaint against. Do not let that deter you from finding justice. Do speak to an attorney that specializes in legal malpractice. You will certainly find similar difficulties in bringing a legal malpractice claim just as you do in bringing medical malpractice claims. It is also very hard to find an attorney that specializes in legal malpractice. Again, do not give up in finding justice. Be diligent and you will find a legal malpractice attorney to listen to your claims and decide if you do have a valid complaint. I believe that we should all stand up for ourselves when we have been harmed. In doing so you may save another person from become victim to these same people.