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Sally Gleeson discussing medical issues 10/11/15

Cosmetic Institute botched surgeries discussion on 2GB

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 


CS – Chris Smith/SG – Sally Gleeson /C1,2,3, etc – Callers 


CS       Yeah – from Turner Freeman I have Sally Gleeson in the studio with me. Before we get to Sally and talk about a number of things related to medical law and of course she’ll take your calls as well on 131873. Ah – we’ve got a $100 Westfield Voucher to give away, which is the normal thing we do during our Turner Freeman Legal Matters segment. $100 to one of our callers between now and 2 and remember to pick up your local newspaper as well. You can read the Turner Freeman Legal Matters column. Their lawyers cover a range of legal topics including compensation and negligence law, family and employment law, wills and estates law, superannuation, disability claims and all those important matters that we cover here on the program. Sally Gleeson, welcome to the program.

SG      Thank you Chris.

CS       Thank you very much for coming in. Alright – you’re working on a case, which I know you’ve touched on previously on the program but I wanted to know what it’s up to. This involves some dodgy breast implant surgeries which came from a mob called Cosmetic Institute. Now you’ve got quite a number of so called victims and cases being heard in Court, right?

SG      Well they are cases that we are investigating and numbers are growing daily. It’s unfortunate they are growing daily, but we have been approached by many many women and it’s not necessarily just about breast implants, it’s about adverse reactions suffered during the surgeries and the cases that I am hearing are very tragic and we are doing our best to try and help these women because obviously the women that have approached me are struggling physically and psychologically.

CS       And do these cases date back a long way or are these only recent?

SG      They are only recent. There in the last three or four years.

CS       Strange that so long we have had breast implants surgery being part of the medical procedures for those who want it right around the world like for decades and yet we’re still 2015, 2014, 2013, you’ve still got cases where things aren’t done properly.

SG      I mean there’s always a risk with any procedure and I say this time and time again, with every procedure in the best of hands there’s always a risk, but these cases are….. and I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve come across surgeries involving different types of cosmetic treatment where the results have been far from good but, these are different cases.  We’re talking about the one place, the one medical centre, so called medical centre and we’re talking about a number of women who have suffered the same or similar stories about the catastrophic …… some of them catastrophic outcomes from the surgery that they’ve received. 

CS       So if the saline from a breast implant leaks, what are the dangers of that?

SG      Well if it leaks, then we are talking about a toxic reaction within the body. We’re talking about possible infection.  We’re talking about women becoming very very ill.  I mean that’s not what we are dealing with here – we’re not dealing with the implant itself being potentially defective or not manufactured to standards, we’re talking about the actual surgical technique apply.  We’re talking about women who have been given allegedly anesthetic that wasn’t suitable, not at the right dose, not at the right …… not in the right medical setting……. and 

CS       And where do they go if they find out that things have gone so badly for them? Do they go back to the Cosmetic Institute or whoever carries out the surgery and says “Hey fix me please, I need ……”… or do they go to a public hospital? 

SG      Well they can’t go to a public hospital because it’s not covered within the realms of the public hospital system….

CS       I would have thought that that was the case… yeah…..

SG      And that Chris is the issue here, is that many of these women are desperate, by the time any legal compensation is available to them, you know, there’s a period of time they have to wait.  The issue here of course is that these women are desperate and they’re returning to the Cosmetic Institute and the Cosmetic Institute is offering them rectification work at a certain cost or at a certain price.

CS       But if they buggered up the first surgery, you wouldn’t trust them to do the second surgery right?

SG      And that’s my advice. And in the face of having no other choice but to live with horrendous consequences and also the cost of having it rectified by a qualified plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon coming at a high price. You can emphasise with these women’s lives. 

CS       These women were charged a flat rate at what I understand at $6,000 for breast implants.  Is that the first alarm bell to go off?

SG      Ah… well….

CS       When they say flat rate $6,000 you should be concerned shouldn’t you?

SG      Well I think you should, when you say it’s a $5,990 consult, come in the day of…..

CS       $5,990……

SG      Come in the day of……

CS       you get a spare set of steak knives do you?

SG      You’ll be out half an hour later and on your way.

CS       Yeah.

SG      I think alarm bells should ring. 

CS       How many women have approached you?

SG      In excess of 100.

CS       Right. There’s also a story in the Australian Newspaper today that looks at the rules and regulations around cosmetic surgery, the Medical Board of Australia is considering whether a patient should have a cooling off period. They should have more information on the practitioner’s qualifications and experience or for under 18’s a pre-treatment psychiatric or psychological assessment to make sure. What are your thoughts on that? 

SG      I agree with all of that. I have always said and I’ve always maintained that the word cosmetic should not deter from a seriousness of the surgery. Cosmetic means nothing other than serious complicated surgery that carries with it the risks of any other surgery. So enter with caution. Think about it. Be happy with your decision and ensure that that is what you want. Think about it. Be happy with your decision and ensure that that’s exactly what you want. 

CS       Alright.  If you’ve got a question for Sally Gleeson from Turner Freeman, go right ahead right now. 131873. Jump in as quick as you can; maybe you’ve got a diagnosis that you’re not quite sure about, maybe you’ve had a procedure or a surgical procedure that hasn’t quite gone well. You don’t know what to do. Your sick of sending letters and picking up the telephone trying to get redress for this, well there are ways to go about it. Maybe even something – you’ve got a problem with a GP and you would like to get advice on that – free advice right now from Sally Gleeson. 131873. We’ll come back and take your calls right after this. This is the Turner Freeman Legal Matters Segment. 16  to 2. 12 to 2 is the time. I’ve got a $100 Westfield Voucher to give away in our segment this afternoon for a selected caller between now and 2. Just a couple of little bits and pieces related to news. We’re hearing from Fire & Rescue NSW that there’s a 40 foot shipping container and a large amount of rubbish alight on Moorebank Avenue. Crews are responding. Lots of smoke in the area. We’ve got a 40 foot shipping container with a large amount of rubbish is now alight and Fire and Rescue are across it. Now this is a lot more serious, a 15 year old boy has been taken to Westmead Hospital  and it’s believed this teenage had been chained up in his family’s Blacktown home. Police were called to the location at Blacktown at midday. There was concern for the teenager’s welfare. The teenager as I say has been taken to Westmead Hospital. Police are investigating the circumstances. That’s come from 7 news. A couple of bits and pieces. 131873. Michael – go right ahead. Sally is listening. 

Caller No: 1     Michael

Michael           Hi Sally.

SG      .   Hi Michael

Michael           The question I have …. well the problem we face is my mum got diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was given not long to live – 6 months – he’s diagnosed her – he’s given us the bad news – without being – not even being 20% sure, it being the primary tumour. So basically she got misdiagnosed – her pancreas clear after seeing a professor at the Life House at the O’Brien Institute. So, basically they’ve wasted 8 months and put her through hell for 8 months with chemotherapy that was not necessary for her type of cancer that she’s got.

SG      Is your mum alive Michael?

Michael           She’s still alive – yeah

SG      She’s still alive and how is she now?

Michael           She’s doing okay. She’s in a little bit of pain here and there.

SG      Yes.

Michael           But we’ve since swapped doctors and the diagnosis that we got from one doctor to the other was 100% different –totally incorrect.

SG      So what do you say is the correct diagnosis?

Michael           Its her lymph nodes in her stomach.

SG                 Okay. And there is no pancreatic cancer – are you saying the pancreatic cancer is a secondary cancer?

Michael           It’s not even the pancreas at all – the pancreas is super clean.

SG      Okay.

Michael           After 6 months of going back to the same doctor, he still didn’t even raise the alarm bells – or saying anything – you know what you are doing surprising me very well. Do you think we should do another check. Nah – nothing like that….

SG      Yes – I understand what you are saying. You’re saying that the initial diagnosis was incorrect and that the investigation done was not the proper investigation that was done to understand the type of cancer that she had. Now had they diagnosed her properly the way you say she should have been diagnosed, what difference would have made to your mum’s outcome?

Michael           Um – a huge difference – or possibly the lymph nodes would have been tackled and addressed back then 8 months ago – than letter them –…… 

SG      Infiltrating them….

Michael           Yes – and they’ve grown a little bit in size.

SG      Okay.

Michael           Now that we are on the right track, we don’t know if it’s too late or not, but there is a very good chance…… when someone tells you that you’re going to die in 6 months, they have already shattered ….. they’ve already killed your confidence.

CS       Yes – they must have a debilitating effect on her mental state.

Michael           Straight away – …….  luck….. Thank God my mum is very strong mentally.

SG      Yes.

Michael           But ah – she ignored everything they had told her.

CS       Good on her.

Michael           But it’s still in the back of her mind.

SG      I am very happy to speak to your mum Michael and to you.

Michael           Thank you.

CG      Okay Michael how about you buy her a gift. I’d like to give you that $100 Westfield Voucher mate. You can buy her a gift. How is she?

Michael           She’s doing okay.

CS       Yeah.

Michael           She’s um – she’s improving – the tumour mark is the bottom levels – all the way down.

CS       She’s still on the road to recovery it sounds Michael?

Michael           Yes and the other thing that gets me is see I’m not a doctor and I wish I was and if I chose to become a doctor – I’d do it because I want to help people. I wouldn’t want to become a doctor for just for the pay cheque at the end of the week. Now these guys.  I want to ask him, would he have treated his wife or his daughter or his family the same way he’s treated my mum with a diagnosis of yep it’s your pancreas. I never knew of a PET scan – a PET scan wasn’t done until 8 months later when it we saw Professor Tassall – which is a true gentleman and a proper doctor. 

SG      Yeah – I know him quite well.

CS       You’re very angry Michael – I can just imagine. 

Michael           I am very angry – I’m ______________. 

CS       Well let’s put you in contact with Sally privately and you can talk about the case in more specifics and she can give you an idea about what the next step is. Stay there Michael, we’ll put you on to Carla and you’ve got the $100 Westfield Voucher too. Thank you so much and hopefully that she is your mumma and she goes through this difficult period. Harry – go right ahead. Sally is listening.

Caller 2           Harry 

Harry              Hello everybody. Um just in reference to my father. He was told her had 4 to 8 weeks to live with a faulty heart they thought and I just didn’t accept that – I just said I was going to take a second opinion and I actually googled what he had a problem with. Second opinions are very important I think because sometimes somebody who has a second opinion can see outside the box and might have reviewed or studied or seen something. It’s like with my father – I won’t say the hospital – but he went to another hospital – he got a heart _______ and three and half years….. for another three and a half years – he passed away…….  To say from 3 ½ years to 4 – 8 weeks – is a massive difference. You know and that’s all I am saying.

SG      And the diagnosis Harry – that was made – was it made by a GP or a cardiologist.

Michael           Yeah, yeah, yeah no it was a specialist Cardiologist… he had a faulty heart – the left of his heart totally collapsed and I googled the information and I found ………………….  system at St Vincent’s and with that myself I pushed it along…. because as a loving child and a loving….. you know if you love someone, you don’t want them to pass away but second opinions are always important.

CS       Hmmm 

SG      Absolutely.

Michael           If you don’t feel right about that –because doctors are……. they are great people – God bless them they help us – but they are only human. That’s all.

CS       And they make mistakes like everyone of us. Good on you Harry – thank you very much.  All the best with all of that. Tough isn’t it. Especially when you’re given the likelihood that you will die in 6 months time – no further treatment suggested and then it all turns around with a second opinion and then it’s almost 8 months later that you get these special tests which could have been done 8 months earlier.

  1. That’s right and it seems to me from particularly the last 2 callers that it’s incumbent upon the patient to take it further, which is really frustrating because you trust the doctor.

CS       Yeah – exactly. Alright, we’ll let you speak with Michael and we thank you very much for coming in this afternoon and good luck with all those cases that you’re dealing with.

  1. Thanks Chris.

CS       All right Sally Gleeson from Turner Freeman Lawyers and that is our Legal Matters segment. Don’t forget a reminder you can pick up your local newspaper and read the Turner Freeman Legal Matters column – a range of legal topics discussed including as compensation, negligence law, family and employment law, wills and estates law and superannuation and disability claims as well. You know compensation can’t change the past but it will make a difference to your future. So if you’ve been injured at work or in a road accident and are suffering financially, it’s time to turn to Turner Freeman Lawyers since 1952, they have been winning claims and achieving great results for their clients and are great value as well. Talk to a Turner Freeman partner before you sign up with another law firm and see for yourself. Call 13 43 63 today for a free case assessment and ask about their “no win/no fee” policy. Turner Freeman Lawyers – the compensation experts.


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