Patient comes forward after plastic surgery nightmare – NBC Los Angeles

Tracy Carter says her plastic surgery went horribly wrong and she soon learned she wasn’t alone.

The NBC 4 I crew has learned he continues to practice despite multiple complaints now being filed against her plastic surgeon.

“If something like this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone,” said Carter, who is a registered nurse.

When she decided to treat herself to a tummy tuck, she did some research.

“I looked at the medical board and read the reviews online,” she explained. “I looked it up, I didn’t see anything.” But she says that Dr. Max Lehfeldt of Pasadena changed her life forever, and not in the way she imagined.

“I came home the first day bleeding through all my bandages and it really went downhill from there. Over the course of eight weeks I became very ill.”

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21191718-medical-board-ca-third-amended-accusation

As an obstetrician, she knew what to expect from surgery, but she believes using the same antibiotic repeatedly throughout her recovery has sent her into a downward spiral. She got such a severe infection that she had to be hospitalized for nine days. Her son Ryan was shocked by what he saw.

“Every single doctor and nurse that walked into the room fell on the floor with their mouths when they saw what she looked like,” said Ryan Stewart.

He was shocked by what his mother had to endure.

“I would never again tell a story where a person’s belly button falls out or where a person has to dig inside with tweezers at home,” Stewart said.

“It was like a bomb went off inside me. I’m in pain every day,” Carter said. “I don’t think I’ll be the same inside; it always hurts.”

She soon realized she wasn’t alone as she read this NBC-4 I-Team report on Wendy Knecht, also a patient of Dr. Lehfeldt, saw. Knecht filed a lawsuit against him for fraud and malpractice following complications with breast reconstruction following her double mastectomy. Lehfeldt has settled for $1,000,000 without admitting guilt.

Knecht became “Patient A” in an indictment by the Director of the Medical Association {see Attachment} against Lehfedlt. It goes back to a complaint that she first filed in 2016 and which the board initially rejected.

Knecht’s persistence led to his reinstatement, and eventually three more patients were added to the indictment, including Carter, who is “Patient D.”

The indictment cites Lehfeldt’s failure to obtain a culture of Carter’s wound, repeated use of the same antibiotic, and failure to document the patient’s consent, all “a deviation from the standard of care.”

The indictment also states “repeated acts of negligence in the care and treatment of Patient A, Patient B, Patient C and Patient D,” making Lehfedlt’s license “disciplinary.”

Carter says the hardest part of this ordeal is knowing that Lehfeldt is still practicing.

In fact, he was scheduled to attend a hearing in January to address this allegation before the full panel. but he asked for an extension, which the medical association has granted until June 2022.

We asked dr. Lehfeldt requested an interview about Carter’s allegations and the allegations by the Director of the Medical Board, but he did not respond to our emails or phone calls.

The Medical Association does not comment on ongoing investigations, but their own published reports show that only about 10 percent of complaints are investigated, and these investigations last three years on average.

Carter says the experience was so traumatic that she feared for her life. She says she is a different person today. What was supposed to be a five-week recovery stretched to seven months, and persistent pain is preventing her from returning to work in the operating room. She says the trauma she suffered from three other surgeries and her now chronic pain changed her forever.

“My mom is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met and that broke her,” Stewart said.

Patient advocates say Carter’s story is all too common. They have complained that the medical board’s investigations favor doctors and take far too long to complete, potentially putting other patients at risk. The board claims it faces a heavy burden of proof when it comes to punishing doctors or revoking licenses, but earlier this month the board urged state lawmakers to change those requirements.

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