A woman whose breast “exploded” after having cosmetic surgery has called for greater transparency following the discovery that her doctor had been sued several times for negligence.
Ashley Blundell contracted an infection and became seriously ill after a breast augmentation performed by Dr Peter Sang Hui Kim.
The 27-year-old is one of at least three women who sued Dr Kim for negligence after cosmetic surgery procedures.
But as he settled out of court without admitting liability and the merits of the claims were not decided, the case was not recorded on the doctor’s medical practitioner registration.
“That’s what got me really irritated because he settled a few cases. If I’d seen that on his record, there’s no way I would have seen him,” she said.
Ashley Blundell had breast implants with Dr Peter Kim in 2013, after her parents convinced her not to get cosmetic surgery in Thailand.
Immediately after the operation, Ms Blundell developed a “double bubble” deformity, where the implant slips below the breast tissue.
However, she was too sick to worry about her physical appearance.
“I felt like I was dying. I was so hot, and then I would go so cold, and then I would just pass out. The pain would be excruciating,” she said.
Two weeks after her surgery, the incision in Ms Blundell’s right breast burst open.
“It just exploded,” she said. “I stood up with help from friends, and it just started to leak and then it just exploded with pus and blood and infection.”
“I got taken to hospital where they removed the implant, but I was on extreme watch for the majority of the time because my temperature would spike so high,” she said.
It will take several operations and cost Ms Blundell at least $20,000 to repair the damage to her breasts.
Lorraine Long, the founder of the Medical Error Action Group has spent decades fighting for settlements to be included on a doctor’s registration.
“It’s all kept quiet, there’s nothing on the doctor’s record, and anyone looking into having say cosmetic surgery, and you want to search him out, you think this guy’s got a good record, I’ll go to him,” she said.
Dr Kim ‘deeply regrets’ distress caused by ‘complications’
Dr Kim, who is now running a practice in Sydney specialising in cosmetic surgery for Asian patients, said he could not comment on this particular case.
But in an email, he told the ABC that surgical complications occur infrequently and no doctor is immune.
“I deeply regret and empathise any distress experienced by my patients because of complications,” he said.
The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons, which counts Dr Kim as a fellow, refused to comment on his record.
However, College spokesman Dr John Flynn said all surgery came with risks.
“Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you would like and that doesn’t necessarily always imply fault, it just means that it’s part of the natural order of things,” he said.