When reading patient accounts of “malpractice” some of the descriptions make me wonder. Was the patient mistreated or did she simply misunderstand? There is a mixture of both in most patient testimony in malpractice allegations as I see not infrequently reviewing cases for the Medical Board. There is also the poor bedside manner and/or patient selection that factors in to this:
Swalberg claims Berg did not provide aftercare instructions and applied her healing garments so tightly that her skin developed indentations. After her wounds became irritated, Berg used his fingers to force antiseptic-soaked gauze into the wounds, pulled the gauze out and restitched the wounds, the suit states. The wounds did not heal, and Swalberg claims she developed swelling and hard spots on her abdomen. After two rescheduled appointments — including one in which Berg passed out in the hallway — he administered steroids and a local anesthetic and then left the room for an hour, Swalberg claims. When he returned, he cut open Swalberg’s surgical site even though the anesthetic had worn off, according to the lawsuit.
Here a patient who apparently had had a tummy tuck describes her post-operative care. Tight post-operative garments can cause problems but they do so very rarely when used correctly. If the doctor did too much liposuction and/or her blood flow was not optimal these would be much more likely causes of long-standing indentations. Most indentations from the garments we use go away..almost all of them. So far all I can tell that the woman had wound complications and did not like the way the doctor cared for her. The rest is hard to sort out.
Then again this part is hard to forgive:
Her allegations coincide with findings by the state Division of Professional and Occupational Licensing that his staff saw him swallowing handfuls of drugs and falling asleep while standing up during the summer of 2011. His attorneys claim he became addicted to painkillers he took to ease injuries from his days as a BYU football player.
If Dr Berg is addicted to painkillers and impaired, then he is not practicing adequately as far as I am concerned. I have a hard time giving the benefit of the doubt with this additional fact in the picture. Much in plastic surgery involves judgment and how an impaired doctor can exercise good judgment is an open question. It is a good thing for him that I am not on the jury.
John Di Saia MD