Patients plan legal action over botched breast implant claims

Women claiming they were physically and emotionally damaged by their breast surgery at The Cosmetic Institute are gathering together hoping to launch a class action.

The Cosmetic Institute swept into the market four years ago, offering flat-rate $6000 breast implants in their two, modern Sydney clinics. Another is due to open on the Gold Coast soon.

Women from every state flocked to take advantage. TCI claim to do 6,000 procedures a year and offer the finance to fund them on their website.

A month after her surgery, a client who wished to remain anonymous, noticed her scar wasn't healing.

“It still wasn't closed and I woke up and lost probably about a cup of fluid from my left breast and I was rushed to hospital,” she said.

“It can't continue and it can't happen to any more girls because it's just not right.”

Seven News has identified more than 30 Cosmetic Institute clients with a range of surgical deformities, including many uneven and misshapen breasts.

Similarly, they were all told they were fine and told to massage and wait.

“Being left botched and with an implant that's basically sitting in my armpit. Look, I'm mortified,” said Sara Jaremenko, a 20-year-old from Victoria left shattered by her TCI experience.

“I've got lopsided boobs... one sits higher and one has dropped further than it's supposed to,” said another TCI client, who also requested anonymity.

Many of these women claim they were misled about TCI doctors' precise qualifications.

All of these women were told by The Cosmetic Institute, among other things, their poor outcomes may have been due to their anatomy. In other words, it's their fault. The company admits no liability in any of these cases. No refunds, no free surgery to fix the mistakes. Only a few women were offered some help after they spoke with Seven News.

TCI quoted these women up to $7,000 for corrective surgery. Others were told to sign a contract requiring them to keep quiet.

“Putting aside the physical scars which I suppose one can hide, the psychological effects are usually the ones that devastate these women,’ said Sally Gleeson, a medical negligence specialist from Turner Freeman Lawyers. She is now interviewing 20 women with a view to launching a possible class action.

“These women potentially have rights to compensation which encompass all sorts of things, the law is clear cut and defined about what those things are,” Ms Gleeson said.

Authorities are already investigating TCI over a string of emergencies; two patient’s hearts stopped during surgery, another suffered a collapsed lung.

TCI refused to be interviewed but did email a statement:

Statement from the Cosmetic Institute

"The questions you have provided TCI are of a legal nature and may become the subject of litigation, therefore we are unable to respond on the specifics.

"We do want to state that TCI prides itself on patient satisfaction and great clinical outcomes, which is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of satisfied patients we have operated on. This can be clearly seen by our 160,000 loyal social media followers and the ongoing support TCI has received, especially in the wake of the relentless negative coverage.

"We are disappointed that most traditional media appear to have no intention of providing a balanced story when it comes to cosmetic surgery."

TCI say their rate of revision surgery is just 0.02 per cent.

Mother of three Narelle Bayon said the emotional scars are as bad as the physical ones.

“You can see that the left one hasn't moved in four months whereas the right one has just gone straight down,” Narelle said.

“I just don't like what I see. (You can't even look at yourself naked?) No,” Narelle said.

DETAILS:

Sally Gleeson – Medical Negligence Expert
Turner Freeman Lawyers
turnerfreeman.com.au

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