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Plastic Surgeon Plans on Fighting Disfigurement Claim

The Pulp has been following the case of a Broward woman who says that a cosmetic procedure destroyed her face and neck with keloids and that her surgeon didn't tell her about scarring risks beforehand.

Now, Enid Perrins-Whittaker's surgeon, Dr. Juan Felipe Garcia, has joined Lifestyle Lift in responding to the lawsuit through his lawyer, Tallahassee-based Craig Dennis.

Dennis says that privacy laws bar him from commenting on the specifics of the case but says that his client has done no wrong.

"For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is [legal] concerns, I'm not permitted to even acknowledge whether she has been or ever was a patient of Dr. Garcia," he says.

"A lawsuit, a complaint, tells only one side of the story. We will present our side of the case, and we believe that Dr. Garcia will be vindicated of any wrongdoing whatsoever. We intend to vigorously defend this claim, and that's the extent to which I could even comment on it."

Perrins-Whittaker had the procedure at Lifestyle Lift, a nationally franchised practice that also has a Palm Beach office. The company says that its physicians always tell patients about possible adverse effects. Lifestyle Lift's patient consent form, which the company emailed to the Pulp, mentions keloid scars specifically.

Perrins-Whittaker says she told Garcia that she had a tendency to develop keloid scars and was worried that the surgery would cause an outbreak, according to a lawsuit recently filed in the Broward County Civil Court.

When she went for a surgical consultation in July 2009, Perrins-Whittaker even went so far as to show Garcia a keloid on her back, she says.

Still, Perrins-Whittaker was told not to worry, that she'd be just fine, she claims in the court filing.

Perrins-Whittaker claims that she was not just fine by any means: She says that her face erupted into a bed of keloid scars less than a week after her August 6, 2009, surgery.

Perrins-Whittaker says that keloids now cover her face and neck, so she's suing Garcia and Lifestyle Lift for damages. 

Lifestyle Lift disagrees with this accounting of events.

Rebecca Shaw, a spokeswoman for the company, has said previously that she's not familiar with the lawsuit but could speak generally about surgical risks.

"Dr. Juan Garcia was a Lifestyle Lift physician for a time in our Fort Lauderdale Center, but left our organization to resume a private practice in Jacksonville," she says in an email to the Pulp.  "He's a talented surgeon, and we have complete confidence in his experience and skills.

"Our doctors review these risks in detail so that patients are fully informed before signing the consent form."

Also, she says, scars that result from the surgery are typically concealed around and behind the fold of the ear and within the hairline.

Check back to the Pulp for updates.

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Victoria Bekiempis

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