A man who woke up from rhinoplasty without his nose is suing the Oklahoma doctor responsible.
In paperwork filed against Oklahoma-based plastic surgeon Dr. Angelo Cuzalina and his practice, former patient Vishal Thakkar alleges that gross negligence and incompetence by the defendants resulted in his horrific disfigurement.
Thakkar says he first visited Dr. Cuzalina, a top cosmetic surgeon who currently serves as president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, back in 2006 following his divorce.
"I decided to do something selfish," Thakkar told Fox 23.
Immediately following the first surgery, Thakkar noticed something was wrong.
"I had the first surgery and suffered some breathing problems, nothing too bad, but it made it hard to exercise and sleep," he said.
Dr. Cuzalina put Thakkar under the knife several more times in an effort to correct his initial mistake.
By the time Thakkar moved to New York in 2007, he had undergone eight corrective surgeries.
When he returned to Dr. Cuzalina in 2011, his nose was already infected, but Cruzalina kept recommending additional surgeries.
Then, last summer, while Thakkar was under for the 22nd time, Cuzalina simply gave up and took the entire nose off.
An expert opinion quoted in Thakkar's suit alleges that Cruzalina made several basic errors along the way, ultimately resulting in a faulty surgical plan "that had no possibility of success."
By the time that the defendants were through mutilating the plaintiff under the guise of twenty-two plastic surgeries, Mr. Thakkar was left grossly deformed, with his nose amputated, and breathing from a straw in the middle of his face, where his nose once was. Plaintiff has now undergone and will suffer through many more future reconstructive surgeries for the purpose of nasal reconstruction, and has suffered indescribable, intolerable physical pain and suffering.
Thakkar claims Cuzalina tried to intimidate him out of suing by suggesting he was "medically unstable" and filing reports alleging Thakkar was harassing him and his staff.
Thakkar says the reports were dismissed as bogus "through the legal process" but have nonethess "permanently smeared [his] record."
A lawyer for Dr. Cuzalina has refused requests from local reporters to address the matter.
"There is no way I am going to live like this. It is worse than being dead," said Thakkar, who is demanding punitive damages for a whole host of transgressions, including medical malpractice, malicious prosecution, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy and fraud.
Dr. Robert M. Menard, Clinical Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, sent in this statement to clarify that, despite being addressed as such in every news article about this incident, as well as in Thakkar's lawsuit, Dr. Cuzalina is not technically a plastic surgeon but a cosmetic surgeon:
In order to be a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery so that you can identify yourself as a Plastic Surgeon, you have to undergo both General Surgery and Plastic Surgery training, with most programs lasting at least 7 years, followed by both written and oral examinations, which have a 25% failure rate on average. The person mentioned in your article is an oral surgeon, and should not be identified as a Plastic Surgeon, as this is a tremendous slight against those of us who have completed the proper training and are trained to correct the train wreck that is now this man's nose, which in all likelihood should never have gotten to that point.