Amanda O’Brien visited Dr. Mahmood Kara’s office in 2019 for what was supposed to be a relatively simple procedure: a breast lift that would leave her existing implants, which he had placed 10 years earlier, intact. .
Instead, O’Brien had to undergo five surgeries in the space of a year. This whole ordeal resulted in an infection, deformed and scarred breasts, the removal of her existing implants and a botched breast lift that cost around $17,000.
“This whole experience had a significant impact on my life,” she said. “I was very sick and emotionally drained.”
O’Brien is the representative plaintiff in a proposed $6 million class action lawsuit against the Toronto doctor that was filed on behalf of patients who claim to have suffered disfigurement, scarring or injury after undergoing surgery by Kara.
The doctor, who is also known as Mahmud Kara, owns Dr. Kara Plastic Surgery and previously operated four private clinics and two satellite locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
None of the allegations against Kara have been tested in court and the lawsuit has not yet been certified as a class action.
Through her attorney, Kara declined an interview request from CBC, saying the matter was before the courts. Neither he nor his lawyer, Adam Patenaude, answered specific questions. In an email, Patenaude said Kara denies the allegations in the claim.
“Although Dr. Kara has not yet filed a defence, he denies all allegations of negligence, dereliction of duty and misconduct in the statement and will resist them,” Patenaude said.
Radio-Canada News first reported on Kara in October 2021when several patients said he took thousands of their money in deposits for procedures he ultimately did not perform.
CBC has learned that it has since reimbursed some of those patients. However, in addition to the proposed class action, he faces a second lawsuit alleging breach of contract.
And, in a rare move by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), his medical license has been temporarily suspended while the regulatory body investigates complaints against him.
The suspension was made under a section of the Regulated Health Professions Act, which allows the CPSO to put in place a temporary suspension if there is evidence to suggest that patients might otherwise be exposed to risk of harm or injury.
Kara’s clinic website says her practice is temporarily closed, but will reopen soon. It also includes a note on how patients can request their medical records.
Lawsuit alleges ‘callous disregard’ for patient safety
The proposed class action includes 16 members to date and claims that Kara and her clinic have conducted their affairs “in an overbearing and arrogant manner and with wanton and callous disregard for patient safety.”
According to attorney Kris Bonn, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the patients, “He really abused their trust and just fell off the face of the earth, as far as we can understand, and didn’t follow through with proper follow-up.”
WATCH | Amanda O’Brien says her life has been significantly affected:
The lawsuit also claims breast implant manufacturers stopped supplying products to Kara, so he used the old ones he had in stock.
“As a result, Dr. Kara placed implants in patients that were not the size the patients had agreed to and what the patients had paid for,” the statement read.
Patient says Kara’s operation left her with deformed breast
O’Brien’s ordeal began in the summer of 2019, when she covered over 100 kilometers from Peterborough, Ontario. in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough for a breast lift operation with Kara.
The claim states that after O’Brien was medicated and sedated, Kara told him there would be a change of plan: he would have to have her existing implants removed and she would have to return for breast lift surgery afterwards. his healing.
The claim says O’Brien agreed under duress, but was not told she would have to purchase new implants at a cost of $10,000.
She eventually agreed to pay for the new implants, also under duress, but demanded reimbursement for the $17,000 breast lift, according to the claim. She told the clinic that if she disagreed, she would consider legal action.
Kara’s office offered her a deal: sign a document stating that O’Brien would not take legal action or write negative comments about Kara, and the office would partially reimburse her for the elevator, according to reports. documents reviewed by CBC. O’Brien did not sign it.
A few months later, O’Brien says the office contacted her and offered to waive the cost of the new implants and provide a discounted breast lift without her having to sign anything. She has accepted.
In January 2020, O’Brien underwent breast lift surgery, which resulted in a “serious infection” in her left breast, according to the claim.
The claim states that over a seven-month period, Kara performed three additional surgeries in an attempt to treat the infection and subsequent deformity in her chest, without success.
“I probably suffered from some depression. It certainly took its toll,” O’Brien said.
After the last attempt to repair the damage failed, O’Brien contacted the clinic to request a follow-up appointment, but never heard back, according to the claim. She decided not to pursue any further.
She doesn’t know if another surgery could help undo the damage she’s done to Kara. At this point, she’s too scared to know.
“I lost faith and the ability to trust this industry.”
“I’m not comfortable, I’m not confident”
In the photographs, O’Brien’s breasts appear out of balance with a scar on her right breast and a more severe one on her left.
She describes its appearance as if someone were sewing a piece of fabric, then pulling the stitch from the inside to create a pleated seam.
“The skin is very loose. A [breast] is a totally different size than the other,” she said. “I’m not comfortable, I’m not confident. I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror.”
O’Brien says she also struggles with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder while in a medical setting, including panic attacks at the dentist.
“That wasn’t the norm for me my whole life. I’m 42,” she said.
His lawyer says that although there are risks of infection and scarring after the surgery, O’Brien’s case is out of the ordinary.
“I think the level we’ve seen here in the number of women affected certainly suggests something hasn’t been done right,” Bonn told CBC.
Kara returned deposits after breach of contract
Kara is the subject of another lawsuit involving 19 plaintiffs who claim he breached their contracts by taking their deposit and failing to complete the procedure.
The claim, which was filed in October, relates to amounts paid by each customer, which total more than $200,000, as well as $25,000 each in punitive damages.
Deborah Laurie is the claim representative and has paid a deposit of just over $9,600 for a breast lift. She says it was her dream to get the procedure, after waiting 15 years.
A few months after filing the application, she got her deposit back, but says her dream is ruined.
“In the end, I got my money back and I’m happy,” she said. “But I just forgot about my dream. Now I’m scared to even try again, because I don’t know if there are any safety nets there.”
Laurie is one of many women CBC spoke to whose deposit was refunded. It’s unclear how many patients Kara has reimbursed.
Neither Kara, her office, nor the lawyer (separate from Patenaude) who helped her distribute the money responded to CBC News’ multiple inquiries about breach of contract. Neither did the lawyer who filed the breach of contract complaint.
No defense has been filed in the case.