Liposuction patient says surgeon pleaded with her

 

A woman who claims she was left with a "bubble" after five litres of fat were removed from her during a liposuction procedure at a Dublin clinic has told the High Court the surgeon who carried out the procedure later pleaded with her not to contact a solicitor.

That surgeon, Dr Hassam Sulaiman, said yesterday that liposuction was not "a final solution" or a miracle but "a start". When he reviewed Maria Taylor Flynn some months after the liposuction procedure, he advised her of the need for diet and exercise.

Ms Taylor Flynn, of Dale Tree Avenue, Ballycullen Grove, Firhouse, Co Dublin, has sued Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Ltd and a surgeon, Dr Sulaiman, as a result of a liposuction procedure carried out at the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery clinic at Owenstown House, Foster's Avenue, Mount Merrion, Dublin, in July 2000.

She claims she suffered personal injuries, loss and damage by reason of the management, treatment and post-operative care of the defendants. It is also alleged the defendants advised her to undergo liposuction when she was obviously not a candidate for any surgical procedure, having regard to her characteristics and, in particular, her weight of 15 stone. The defendants deny the claims.

On the second day of the action yesterday, the court heard that, on July 19th, 2000, the day of the operation, Ms Taylor Flynn was advised the doctor scheduled to carry out the operation would be replaced by Dr Sulaiman. She was worried, and felt she was slotted in and not given quality time. At the November 2000 review of her case, she had told Dr Sulaiman she was terrified of further surgery and shocked by the whole experience.

"He pleaded with me not to go to a solicitor and said I would get an appointment in six months. I asked had he given his word of honour as my surgeon and a gentleman and he said yes. I never heard from him since," she said.

In his evidence, Dr Sulaiman said when he met Ms Taylor Flynn in November 2000 to review her case, she was not happy with her after-care. He said he told her of the need for diet and exercise and that she may need a tummy tuck. "She did not like the idea of surgery again. She was not a happy woman," he said.

Before the liposuction, Ms Taylor Flynn had loose skin and there was fullness to the bulge because of the fat, he said. After the procedure, the fullness was much less and she still had loose skin but the fat had been removed. "The objective had been fulfilled - to get the fat out," he said.

Cross-examined by Ms Taylor Flynn's counsel, Paul Coffey SC, Dr Sulaiman said it was not a regular occurrence to have to take another doctor's patient and agreed he was substituted at the eleventh hour.

Dr Sulaiman said Ms Taylor Flynn was too heavy for a tummy tuck at that stage and there would have been a very high risk of complications or morbidity. The liposuction would be a compromise to kick-start weight-loss for her, he said.

He got the impression she had been trying to lose weight for the last 20 years. Liposuction was not "the final solution" or a miracle but a start. Dr Sulaiman said he would call the "bubble" complained of on Ms Taylor Flynn's stomach as "loose skin". All the problems of loose skin could be remedied at a later stage with a tummy tuck, he added.