In episode 10 of our podcast, Growing Stronger, Tanya Chapman is joined by colleagues and health law specialists Tom Lyons and Lucie Dei Rocini to discuss the disturbing medical procedures that resulted in cosmetic surgeon Dr Blackstock being removed from the register of medical practitioners and banned from practising medicine for 7 years.
Catherine Henry Lawyers is handling negligence claims for over 150 former patients of Dr Blackstock. For many years, Dr Blackstock performed “cut price” breast augmentation operations involving inadequate planning, substandard techniques, and ineffective anaesthesia. In most of the cases we have seen, the patients require further surgery to fix the problems caused by Dr Blackstock.
Although not an elder law case, we wanted to cover this litigation because it demonstrates the importance of patients understanding the particular skill set of doctors they entrust to perform their surgery. Many people would not realise that general practitioners – or GPs – can hold themselves out as cosmetic surgeons although having no specialist qualifications in surgery. It’s important also that people know that poor surgical work can be challenged and the costs of further surgery recovered in many instances. There are therefore important public interest issues involved.
This is a case where being better informed can help people protect and stand up for themselves.
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Case: Health Care Complaints Commission v Blackstock  NSWCATAD 110
This topic may be considered disturbing – there will be brief discussion of medical procedures and adverse medical outcomes. Listener discretion is advised.
The case we’re looking at today took place in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal. The Health Care Complaints Commission had made an application to the Tribunal for Dr Leslie Blackstock’s medical practitioner registration to be cancelled and for orders that he cannot reapply for registration for 7 years.
The Health Care Complaints Commission (which I’m just going to refer to as the Commission from now on) filed several complaints against Dr Blackstock, including:
- He failed to conduct appropriate pre-operative assessments of patients
- He failed to obtain proper informed consent from his patients
- He inappropriately sat sedated patients up during surgery to comment on or consent to the implants
- He failed to provide adequate post-operative care for his patients
- He invited friends and family to come into the operating room to obtain their opinion of the implants
- He failed to keep appropriate records,
- In one instance, he performed a labiaplasty at the same time as a breast augmentation, and
- In two cases, his surgical plans for the patient were wholly inadequate.
The Commission argued that Blackstock’s conduct is unsatisfactory professional conduct of such a serious nature that it justifies the suspension or cancellation of his registration and constitutes professional misconduct.
We won’t go into each patient’s case in great detail, but we have chosen a few of the patient’s stories to give you an idea of Blackstock’s general procedures. Procedures that amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and left his patients in excruciating pain and with ongoing deformities and medical issues.
More client stories
The below information resource outlines the options available to people who wish to take legal action or make a complaint against Dr Leslie Blackstock:
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