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Why given a second chance I wouldn't have plastic surgery again

  • DashedHopes
  • 11 months ago

Following a poor outcome from a midface lift and eyelid surgery I had  6.5 months ago, I wondered how many others (like me) who have had a less than desirable result result  now feel about plastic surgery? Do you feel differently about it now? What if anything have you learned from your experience? If you could turn back the clock what would you do differently? It seems there are more and more people who are becoming "victims" of plastic surgery. The question is why? And more importantly, why is it when surgeons who perform bad surgery and have a moral responsibility and duty of care towards those who's lives they have blighted are allowed to turn their backs on their patients and walk away without so much as an apology and get away with it?

As a "victim" of plastic surgery myself,  I did all I could to minimize the risks by choosing a " well trained and experienced, board certified surgeon". Despite this, I still got a bad result. The surgeon who performed the procedure deviated from the original plan: I got a truncated procedure (probably because as he was preparing to go on leave the following day and may have been pushing time). When I looked in the mirror, felt like I had been the victim of a perverse experiment: The left and right side of my face look as if I was operated on my two different surgeons: The oval of my face has skewed due to uneven placement of my cheeks and my eyes were badly scarred and look worse than before from live fat grafts that had been harvested from my lower back in an attempt to correct the tear troughs resulting in lumpy lower lids. 

I've been asking myself if there was anything I could have done differently and the answer is no. I did everything in my power to avoid being where I am now but there is only so much you can do to avoid falling prey to incompetence and its not helped when TV, social media, magazines and the internet normalise and trivialise cosmetic procedures. I have had time to reflect and with hindsight now feel that if I could turn the clock back, I wouldn't do it again for the following reasons: UNCERTAINTY Until you have had the procedure, it seems the doctor doesn't know how you will fare as each person responds differently to surgery and it may not turn out the way you want or expect. Plastic surgery carries higher risks than one is made aware of and you will never know if it was due to your Doctor's incompetence or your own body's reaction to the surgery? Seems you won't know until you've had the procedure. ABSENCE OF MORAL OBLIGATION AND ETHICS.  There are excellent and talented surgeons with integrity who are genuinely interested in their patients and take pride in their work. Are aware of the difference they can make to a person's life and feel morally responsible to ensuring the best outcome. Others are only in it for the money. LACK OF MORAL INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY Not all surgeons are created equal. And not all are honest about their abilities. Many will never tell you if the surgery YOU seek presents a challenge for them. They would sooner take a chance with ruining your looks than see you walk away with your hard earned cash. (This was my experience).

ALL THE ODDS ARE WEIGHTED IN THE SURGEON'S FAVOR If and when things do go wrong, patients are left high and dry with no recourse other than to grin and bear it. Only death seems to qualify for negligence or malpractice. Disfigurement seems a risk patients are expected to take on board  as its "out of the doctor's control and not something they could have foreseen". That a surgeon failed to properly assess a patient's suitability for a procedure never seems to be a factor. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY Can you GUAGE the depth, breadth and talent of an experienced plastic surgeon with a good track record from just looking at his website? Marketing and media are powerful tools and websites are crafted, designed and worded to carefully convey what THEY want you to BELIEVE backed up by (what may in some cases be doctored ) before and after images of patients and reviews that could be written by anyone. Unless you work there you'll never know how much of it is real or true.

EXPENSE FOR REMEDIAL WORK Surgeons charge more to correct another surgeon's mistakes and there is an even higher risk of a poor outcome as the surgeon is working with  scar tissue which may limit what s/he can do and unless you have picked someone with experience in revision surgery and knows what they're doing, you could end up with little or no improvement or worse. DEPRESSION As someone who is 7 months on "recovering" from a bad midface lift and blepharoplasty. I know all too well that WHAT I'VE LEARNED? Cosmetic surgery is great WHEN it's successful and it can make a difference to your quality of life. The opposite however can also destroy you, morally, psychologically and financially.

WHAT WOULD I DO IF I COULD TURN BACK THE CLOCK/ Learn to love myself as I am. Do the best with what I have and find richer and more meaningful ways of bolstering my self esteem and confidence that won't wreck my head, looks or bank balance. MY ADVICE Don't do it unless you can have the moral courage to live with the consequences should anything go wrong.  And if you do, then make sure you have the means (beyond your initial surgery) to pursue your goals. You may not need it but if you do at least you will be prepared.

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I too was a victim of bad plastic surgery. I literally destroyed my nose for no reason other than BDD. I was a very handsome and rugged looking man. Women would flirt with me everywhere I went, whether it be the gym, fast food restaurants, mall and even in my car. I knew I was good looking, but with BDD you only focus on a defect in your face. That to me was my nose; I thought it was keeping me back from living a more meaningful life. So stupidly I got rhinoplasty. I later discovered that I had all the symptoms of BDD - comparing, obsession, low-self esteem. I now spend most of my time indoors and wish I could die just to get rid of the pain and sorrow I live through every minute. The worst part is the surgeon ruined my nose, asymmetrical and overly narrow. I get stares of disgust and shame wherever I go. I think plastic surgery should be highly regulated and only for people who really need it.
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I too regret plastic surgery to correct a mild "tuberous deformity" on one of my breasts, basically, I would have been better off getting a mastectomy and reconstruction with an implant versus what I am left with now. Feel free to look at my case, not one, but two board certified "Top Docs" disfigured me.
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A WARNING. Did you know .... Finding the truth about your doctors competence may be very difficult, if not impossible in future? There are now companies offering to salvage Doctors' reputations by ensuring that negative posts from patients are removed from websites! So next time you "google" your doctor for feedback/reviews and all you get is a glowing report of their competence and a list of highly satisfied customers, don't get too excited as you may be looking at a skillfully marketed and managed profile of your doctor. It would appear as consumers, not only do we have no recourse when a doctor screws up but we cannot avoid being their next victims as any negative reviews from former patients that would have steered us clear from them can be removed to protect the doctor!
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Thank Goodness I got to this site before undergoing facelift.Now I realize a lot can go wrong,as with any invasive surgery, but this can cause extreme depression anxiety and loss of self esteem post op, more than the wrinkled neck & joules I have now...thanks, love this site where people are honest and helpful!!
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Thank you so much for your comment.i have been considering facelift for years now. I tried to avoid invasive surgery by having the Ultherapy, which was expensive,painful and shows absolutely NO results. So your comment has made me re- evaluate my consideration for facelift..thanks again. GREAT HELP!
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Dashedhope- You took the words right out of my mouth. I did not undergo a facelift, but I had an ultherapy treatment 2 years ago and sculptra injected immediately after ultherapy. It cost a lot of cash and now my neck area looks like a deflated balloon. I have considered a necklift to correct this, but so far I have not found a doc that I trust.
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lilt,..I also had Ultherapy 6 months ago,along with Juverdern, some months later Laser Genesis, then the Obagi Nu Derm system.My neck looks worse, more wrinkled since ultherapy..I am depressed about it, but nothing to be done but learn from my mistakes hopefully. Thanks good to hear from someone else who has had similar issues.
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I think the Ultherapy removed some of the fat from my neck.
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Hi, Thank You for starting this thread. I too have had a botched procedure. I went to the board certified ps because I had entropion on the right eye. My insurance agreed to cover the right lateral canthoplasty and right midface resuspension (a face lift on the right) to support the right lower lid. the doctor sold me that i needed a left mid face resuspension to make it look even. He then mentioned "I can put a little sculptra in there to hide an old scar on the right". I said what is sculptra? (2008).

 

He said it is very slow absorbed and would make the skin thicker where the scar is. I asked if it was like silicone? I had never had any fillers and did not know anything about them. He told me oh silicone was dangerous but sculptra was very safe, he had even used it on his wife. The only signed consent form that I was give was for the midface resuspension. He never said he was going to operate on my left eye and he never told me how sculptra works and by the way it is not supposed to be used in the lower eyelids.

 

I woke up from surgery with sculptra in both of my lower eyelids and surgery on both of my lower eyelids. I knew right away it was wrong. my eyelids were distorted, the sculptra hurt really bad and the swelling and pain would not stop. I had lumps within three weeks. I had some clumps of product cut out by him within three weeks. I asked him on my first post op visit "why did you do anything at all to my left eye?" he said "I was trying to make you look more symetric". There was nothing I could do. I tried to believe him that it would improve, it would get better. Then he moved to ohio. On my last visit with him he again assured me it would get better (three months post op now) still in God awful pain and swelling and lumps. I was humiliated every day at work. My career and reputation were tainted. I was a joke for those lacking compassion. He told me at my last visit that if I had any problems I could see one of his partners as he was relocating but it would get better. It got worse. I called the office and asked to see one of the other doctors as I was having a sculptra complication.

 

They sent me a certified letter saying they would not treat me and gave me the contact information for the american society of plastic surgeons. It continued to get worse. I found a "sculptra expert" who tried to help me with all of the usual treatments for this "difficult to manage" well known complication. he did saline injections, cortisone injections, medrol dose packs etc and finally ordered a CT scan. The sculptra inflammation had gone into the eye socket. I could no longer see out of my right eye. The vision was very blurry and I had uveitis. The left side was just ugly. By this time I had learned so much about sculptra. I contacted the original doctors insurance carrier. I had obtained all of the records from the practice and from the hospital. I shared them with the insurance carrier. They jerked me around for months. I now had developed necrosis of the obicularis muscle and infection in the orbital bone. I had to leave my 25 year career 5 years short of a full pension on disability.

 

I had talked with a lawyer friend and she said since this was so obviously malpractice maybe the insurance carrier would try to make it right. I was so bloody sick. Now had to have more surgery and hyperbaric oxygen treatments 5 days a week for 3 months. I had puss coming out of my face and a pile of records and had to shop my case around for lawyers. Another thing I have learned, medical malpractice is a specialty of law. Do not waste your time on the average slip and fall, vehicle accident lawyers. They may say they do medical malpractice but they either refer you to one who does it for a percentage or they think they can learn on you. By the time I finally learned about lawyers, time had been passing. I spent the first year hopeful I would recover. The second year I was so ill and disfigured. In and out of the hospital. Two medmal attorneys did not want my case as it involved a plastic surgery and they felt that even though medmal did occur, that plastic surgery cases were too risky as juries are not sympathetic to plastic surgery victims. Two other medmal attorneys wanted my case but could not promise anything until after they paid for a very expensive review by a consultant plastic surgeon. I told the insurance carrier that I would be forced to sign with an attorney if they did not attempt to make this right with me. I was afraid of my loss of income and possibly foreclosure of my house. They did not care.

 

Finally she said to me in an email "we do not deal with threats of litigation". I signed with a lawyer. The expert we had evaluate the case has to be from a different city because local doctors do not want to get involved. During the deposition process the doctor lied repeatedly. He even broke down crying. Now I was deposed and I have been in all varieties of Hell since this assault occurred, but I did not break down crying. But I told the truth. He cried because he was lieing. He cried because he got caught. He did what he wanted to do to me, he did not have my consent and it was not what we discussed. I am sure he had got away with it many times before. Unless you are very badly hurt, have significant financial damages and have a doctor stupid enough to forget to have you sign the forms, holding the doctor accountable must be almost impossible. The system is all set up to protect the doctors and to further victimize the patient. Now we are months from trial. Defend, Deny, and Delay are their strategies.

 

I am pretty certain his lawyer knows he is a liar, but still she defends him. I am told by my attorney they will not make any real offer to settle until we are selecting a jury. At this point I have lost everything. My self esteem is zero, my career is over, my marriage is over, my quality of life is over. My husband has been great, very supportive but the financial strain and my loss of confidence and my unwillingness to go out in public has made me a useless wife. Now I will not settle with them. Now I will go to trial and I will post the transcripts of the trial on the internet. Now I want to destroy his reputation and his career and that of his partners who abandoned me. I will not sign any non disclosure settlement. That time has passed. They need to learn. If they (insurance carrier doctors) see medical malpractice then they should help the victim out early in the process. Stop trying to protect the physician who made the mistake. For what ever reason. Stop paying attorneys to defend, delay and deny the claim. I was very close to the statute of limitation of 2.5 years when the legal paperwork was finally filed after the case was reviewed by the expert. They want that time to pass so they can get away with it.. I still have chronic inflammation in my eyelids. I had another MRI last week and "debris" is showing up in my right eyelid. Who knows what it is. With all of the surgeries I have had and all of the scars I have, there is no doctor that can ever make me right. If I had it to do all over again, I would have seen an occuloplastics specialist. I would have gone over what exactly was to be done prior to the surgery in front of a witness.

 

Even if he had done the extra "free surgery" on my left eye it would have been ok if he did not put the sculptra in without knowing anything about it. Sculptra says do not use near the eyes. I suspect some sales rep told him how great sculptra was and he did not think it was any different from any other filler he uses. He was so arrogant he did not think he needed to read the instructions. He injected the stuff like it was restylane. I am very very angry. People think I should get over it. One dermatologist who is "friends" with the doctor told me "You can get another horse, horses don't care what you look like". No I can not because now I am poor. I have sold all of my horse equipment because I needed money. Can you imagine the insensitivity. He has horses and I am sure he has no idea how expensive they are to keep. That happened just recently. He also told me Dr Miller will never be able to say what you want to hear. I told him Then he is going to own it. And I have a shrink you are not him. These doctors really do circle the wagons no matter what is right and what is wrong.

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I am so sorry!!! If you ever want to vent, send me a private email!! I was soooo lucky compared to you!! I was terrified after I woke up from surgery that I was disfigured. I am not thank God!!
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Dru, this is dreadful. I can't imagine the hell you've been through and still enduring. Its bad enough that the surgeon has done such a bad job but to deny liability for screwing up your face and life is unforgivable, inhumane and downright despicable. The Law too is an ass if it cannot legislate to make plastic surgeons accountable when they mess up due to incompetence, carelessness and lack of care. Honest, competent, conscientious and compassionate physicans are letting themselves down when they support bad practice, a bad system and incompetent doctors who treat their patients like donor parts. When is the medical council going to act to protect patients from bad physicians? I hope that you get justice and are compensated for your losses in every sense. I hope too that the doctor in question is barred from practicing so doesn't do this to another living soul. Please do not despair. You're strong and you will get through this. DG
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I'm sorry to hear about your entire experience. It's an absolute, disgrace what has happened to you. The doctor sounds like another quack and hack and sounds like he should lose his medical license and not be allowed to practice, period, like many others out there. The law doesn't say that doctors can go around hurting, disfiguring people, regardless and literally ruining their lives, personally and professionally. It doesn't say that doctors are allowed to tell patients lies, saying, telling them one thing and then doing another. If had really known what my doctor/surgeon was doing to me, real time and been able to see it while it was happening, I would have told him to Stop or had really known what he was Really going to be doing before he actually did what he did to me, I would have said, "No." I have a hard time with some of the comments others have made on these forums. It almost sounds ot me as if some of these people are set-ups, fakes, phonies, liars. That they are set-up and perpetuated by some of these doctors in question, surgeons themselves in order to protect, rationlize and justify their bad behavior, mistakes, judgement and unethical, immoral medical practices. People's lives have been ruined by some of these doctors/surgeons, the doctors/surgeons should be held responsible and accountable for their actions. As the patient, you can't and you don't and you shouldn't just forget about it and go away as many of these would like you to do, so that they can sleep better at night, while they are building up their rich nest. There should be made to pay punitive damages made to the recipients, the victims of these negligent, incompetent and unprofessional doctors/surgeons in question who have caused these damages, disfigurements to people mentally and physically, in many cases for the rest of their lives.
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Thank you for the support. It is a new way to live after this kind of thing.
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Hi Dru - I hope you're ok and staying strong in the face of all the challenges you have so bravely faced down and continue to do so. Did you get a date for your trial hearing? I am praying that you are fully compensated for all your troubles and are awarded sufficient resources to find yourself the best occulofacial plastic surgeon who can repair the damage and give you back your life. It is as you say, a 'new way of living' after something like this happens to you. My life is not the same. How can it be when you're ashamed to look at someone squarely in the eye. A year has gone by now and I know I cannot continue as I am. The surgeon who carried out my procedure will not even answer my questions, so I am still in the dark as to what he did. Because the procedure was carried out in a different jurisdiction and language is a barrier, he knows it will be difficult for me to get justice. According to another former patient of his who's face he also ruined, he does not even keep patient records. She is a nurse and when she told him doctors are required by law to keep records of all their patients, he replied that if he did that he wouldn't have time to operate! This experience has taught me not to underestimate the risk of having cosmetic surgeries abroad, especially in a country where they don't speak the same language. No matter how affordable the procedure is, it really is not not worth the time, trouble and expense of trying to put things right when they do go wrong. Do let us know how you're getting on. All the best. DH
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Unfortunately, even with litigation that is so burdensome to me and my attorney this will never be more than an inconvenience for the "Dr" that destroyed my life. I doubt his insurance rate will even go up but maybe it will. He can never compensate me for what his incompetence has put me through and what I continue to have to endure.
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Sorry, that you feel that way. That's your call, your decision, ultimately. I'm not sure I'm on board with your comments. If that were the case, than, what's the point of this blog, lawyers or the legal system or other recourse for action by anyone out there. That's just not the reality. The system may not always be right or even fair, agreed, but, it's one of the most viable options open and available.
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It is the only option and I am using it. Just sayin there is no justice or fair compensation
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So, I had an excellent MedMal attorney and an excellent expert and we proved that Dr. Miller had not provided informed consent and failed to warn or use the sculptra properly by placing it under my eyes but the Jury bought his lies that he verbally warned me and verbally obtained consent. He hired a plastic surgeon Patricia Fox to say that was the standard of care and the jury had my two experts say written informed consent was necessary and they decided to believe those two and they decided in favor of the MD that disfigured me and improperly placed a medical device under my eyes wrecking my eyelids. They also blamed the physician who treated me after Dr. James R Miller moved to Ohio. Nice really nice. Great way to step up and own your behavior. Real ethical. Way to make it right. You made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes but being the kind of person who would rather lie and blame others and further victimize the person who trusted you to used sound medical judgment is wrong. The jury system is not able to determine complex medical information when they are provided with false information the plaintiff can not call BS. Unbelievable.
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Deda11 - sorry to hear about your experience and worse still to hear how in the absence of a written consent, the Jury deemed it "just" to ruled in favor of the Doctor who did this to you. After reading your story, I'm not sure what to think anymore. Seems like ALL the cards are stacked in the surgeon's favor if there is little or nothing in law to make surgeons accountable to their patients for their ill considered actions/decisions. Not very reassuring for anyone considering PS! Have you given any thought to what you will do to revise the procedure? Its 13 months since I had my disastrous midface and eyelid surgery. It has totally ruined my self confidence and moral. I know I cannot leave things as they are but I'm too afraid right now of having a revision. I'm working up the courage to see another surgeon. Someone who will restore my faith and courage and .... hopefully, my face too. I wish you well and hope you will find a a good Surgeon to revise the results of your eyelids successfully. Best wishes DH.
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I have had some repair done. Unfortunately it is still pretty bad. I am going to purchase the trial transcripts that are very expensive and send them to AS P'S the AMA and the state medical boards. I am going to post them along with all documents and affidavits on a website. I am working with propublica patient harm group to bring this to light. That is as much as I can think to do.
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I did not know of Propublica till now and its great that they are willing to take on elective procedures. Cosmetic surgery seems to be treated differently by medical and legal professions alike as it is seen as "unnecessary". Patients in this category don't appear to have the same "rights" as those undergoing a medical procedure except of death or horrendous disfigurement and even then ….. Please post a link to the website when the information is loaded. I am sure it will be of interest to many. Thanks for sharing Deda. Wishing you all the best and every success with it. DH
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Thank you, I am sorry to that you have had a dreadful result and you are not happy,, it is such a shame when you have had to spend fortunes to someone who did not listen to what you actually wanted, maybe others could write it down to give to there PS in future and and have a copy. but you think as you are paying them they would do what you want:( I at the time did not realise I should of asked about complications and few other things, But at least I think my work is ok apart from scars... im just fed up maybe when all the sacabs have gone i will feel different! Yes it does make me feel like smoking and do have the odd one... I have been looking everywhere to find a quick healing method, walking is the only one that seemed it may help. :)
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Thank you Dashedhope for sharing so openly. Those of us who feel disappointed with our PS are unique because "we chose to do it". But let me explain where we do have rights. I happened to be the lead juror in a medical malpractice suit (what are the odds!!!!) I work in healthcare, have lots of friends who are docs, care for patients and met with the judge and 2 lawyers to pull myself from the case. I said I feel too much for the doctor and I don't understand the patients side in this case because she had signed and initialed all the risks and one of the risks became a reality but she knew it going in. This is the important part. A doctor of any kind can not have negligence signed away. If you can prove that the doc deviated from the proper line of care they are negligent and even if the issues were risks they had informed you about and that you had signed if the doc was somehow negligent and deviated from the "standard practice" you have a case. In my case we did side with the patient and the doctor lost. I realize in many cases it is hard to prove that they were negligent etc and after the emotional, physical and psychological drain of it all who has the energy to even deal with all of this. That is where I am at. I am so drained from al of it but I feel atleast validated that there are laws in place where doctors can't just walk away scott free. I have seen wto other PS since my surgery to get a take on their opinion and both say that my work was incomplete and for me I feel that my PS did not "hear" me but more did what he wanted. I was in a lot of pain coupled with his callousness resulted with very deep depression and "cost" me in so many ways. I really appreciate that you began this blog. It is true also that you should have the financial means for remedial work. This whole thing has drained me on so many levels. What I would do over is to go to the original surgeon I had for other procedures even if it was more $ and time consuming because in the end I would have come out ahead. Also the real good ones in NYC do the remedial work with no charge until the result is good. I know 4 doctors who have done more work (all for patients that really looked great and just was expecting a different look). I can get anyone the names if they want. One of them was my initial doctor he listened to what I said about a natural look for my nose and when I said I wanted a bit more he said he would do it, no charge anytime. That was 7 years ago, I never did it but that made me feel so taken care of and safe to do other work with him. Thank you Real Self I can't tell many people in my life about this PS issue because most just don't "get" why I would go through all of this in the first place. It is nice to have a place to be understood.
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Thank you secretps. Years ago when I had surgery for fibroids a colleague told me not to be scared by the forms the hospital has you sign, that in the US you can not sign away your rights to appropriate care, so no matter what you sign if you have had negligent care the doctor and/or hospital is responsible. Your explanation of the way this works if very helpful. I do believe any good surgeon will do a revision if a patient is not satisfied. The problem being that if I had bad results, I would be very wary of letting the same dr work on me again!
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Anli1974 thank u 4 responding. I have decided even if he will fix it I don't want him to work on me it was too bad of an experience. I still have to figure out how to address my PS on Tuesday. It brings so much stress and frustration.
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