Shellie’s Medical Malpractice Nightmare

and her

Fight for Freedom of Speech

Recovering from Surgery

Over the next 48 hours my pain continued to worsen. I had developed a fever and had pure blood diarrhea. I was so ill that I was blacking out even while lying down. I phoned Dr. Kagan's office and was told to go to the nearest emergency room.

Photo shows how a Bennelli lift is done.When I was unbandaged by the doctor at the emergency room to check my breasts for infection, I learned that Dr. Robert S. Kagan did in fact perform the Benelli procedure on me. I was shocked in light of the fact that I told Dr. Kagan that I DID NOT want the Benelli lift procedure (see description on right).  I also had what the emergency room doctor called a burn on my right breast. It was a bright red, huge open wound with fluid coming out of it. I was horrified. When I asked the ER doctor about the burn, she said, "that looks bad, I would demand the surgeon explain this to you." When I asked Kagan he said, "I think the operating room nurse burned you while scrubbing you with betadine." I had never heard of this or read about it.

After spending the night in the hospital on an IV being treated for my problems, I went home.

I phoned Dr. Robert S. Kagan and asked him why he did the Benelli procedure when I told him that I did not want it, and he stated that we agreed that was what he was supposed to do. I told him that he was wrong and we did not agree on that. He said that he did not have my chart in front of him and just to make an appointment to see him. I made an appointment. This would be the first time I saw him after the surgery. I was still very sick and weak. I did not argue with him on that date. I just said again that he was not supposed to do the Benelli. I was in a great deal of pain and heavily medicated. Dr. Kagan just argued that we agreed to do the procedure and changed the subject.  I was certain that I had only agreed to the breast implant replacement surgery, and no more.

Photo of infected wound after Bennelli lift.I went to see Dr. Kagan for a few follow-up appointments over a period of six weeks. I needed to get answers as to why he did the Benelli and the reason for all the problems he left me with. He continued to state that we agreed he would do the Benelli. I also complained to Dr. Kagan that he put my nipples back on crooked (a Benelli procedure consists of removing skin around your nipples/areolas and repositioning them). The wounds around my nipples would not heal. The sutures that were under the skin in the muscle and the sutures holding the skin together at the wound site were not absorbing into my body as they should. The wounds were opening up, and pieces of thread were literally hanging out of the open wounds. The wound sites were also dripping blood and puss to such a degree that my shirt was soaked multiple times every day. The burn would not heal and was dripping blood and puss, as well. My breasts were saggy, rippled, and pushing into my armpits. I could not lean back without my arms going numb.  How very disturbing it was to be left in this mess as a result of a surgical procedure that I did not want.  It took about a year for these wounds to heal.

I had a compromised blood supply in my breasts because I did not have breast tissue and the skin on my breasts was tissue thin. When Dr. Kagan repositioned my nipples during the Benelli procedure he severed the only blood supply to my nipples. Dr. Coleman, an amazing plastic surgeon who operated on me several times to fix my various medical problems as a result of the surgery that Kagan performed on me,  said it is a miracle that my nipples survived. The only nerves in my breasts are contained in the thin skin which was severed when my nipples were cut. Those nerves will never grow back together through the scar tissue. That is why I have pain in my breasts that will never go away.

After my surgery while complaining to Dr. Kagan about my oddly shaped breasts he advised me that he had placed teardrop implants into my body, not the round ones that I had always had. When I was in Dr. Kagan’s office before the surgery, the implant that he showed me he would be using was round. To this day I have no idea why Dr. Kagan chose teardrop implants. I have never received a satisfactory answer from him regarding why he did not use round implants as we had agreed. I asked why he used the teardrop shape without discussing it with me, and he claimed they look more natural. He went on to say that he put one in my body when I was on the operating table, and the nurse said, "she looks so much better." If this odd exchange really took place between the doctor and nurse, it was even more odd that he told me about it, and his anecdote in no way justified his choice of an implant shape that I did not authorize. These conversations with Dr. Kagan were strange and not helpful, so I called the manufacturer of my implant. The manufacturer said they do not recommend the teardrop shape for a mastectomy patient.