Rating Feedback for Dr. Der Sarkissian (723036)

I've known this patient for 17 yrs, accompanied her to appointments with Dr.D and vouch for her honesty in presenting the facts about her experience with him. All the glowing comments from other patients makes it all the more disturbing that this outstanding surgeon would refute his own initial findings or deliberately ignore reports from other specialists. I was right there in the room when Dr. D's hands just couldn't manage to examine her properly. Lucille repeatedly showed him what she had to do to breathe and swallow.. I have duplicated this "manual maneuver" for her COUNTLESS times. It is impossible not to feel the tension on the layer beneath her skin that has been pulling her jaw back, causing her to choke and obstructing her airway. If I can do this with my hands, certainly a surgeon should be able to feel this with no problem. But he didn't. It isn't that he cannot do it.. he just WILL NOT. It's intentional.

As a professional photographer and videographer, I've documented changes from her cosmetic surgery since 1998 and was present for nearly every meeting she had with plastic surgeons from that time. It's absurd for any surgeon who claims to have reviewed her before and after photos as has Dr. D, NOT to recognize the DRASTIC change in anatomical landmarks that can only translate into an extreme displacement of internal as well as external anatomy. Dr. D is an otolaryngologist, not just a facial plastic surgeon. Lucille's problems are not aesthetic, they are life threatening. That is why her ENT specialist, her pulmonologist and another plastic surgeon all referred her to Dr. D, yet he refused to order the appropriate x-rays for years while trying to make it appear as if he was willing to help her. If I hadn't been there with her for some of these consultations, I would never believe it possible for a patient with a serious condition to be repeatedly handed a line of condescending nonsense. I was present when Lucille told him she was sure the swelling from her nose job, done less than 2 months after her facelift, caused her skin and the layer beneath to stretch permanently and become "unstuck" from the muscles. I will never forget his answer because it was so incredible. He said if Lucille's theory were true, that pregnancy would cause a woman to have "skin hanging to her knees after giving birth." Outrageous. How can you compare skin dissected in a facelift blowing up in a single day after a nose job that was done before the facelift could heal with the gradual stretching of abdominal skin of a pregnant woman? It's ridiculous to compare the two yet he said this with a straight face, probably knowing Lucille was too polite to point out the incredulity of such a statement in the presence of others. He actually said this before a camera the day HBO filmed them at BU Medical Center.

I was also present when he promised to order the x-rays she had to begged for. Her ENT was Dr. Mucci at Cape Cod ENT. He was away and his office refused to call Dr. D at BU Medical Center to get the order for the x-rays. CCENT made her come in to see another doctor. I brought her to that appointment. We were in with this doctor for 45 minutes when all she wanted him to do was call about the x-rays Dr. D promised to order through Dr. Mucci several months previous, yet she left there without his making the call or ordering the films himself. It seems to me that these doctors sent her to you because they considered Dr. D the expert. Her pulmonologist wrote in his report that it was the SURGEON who should be present for the airway fluoroscopy, which certainly makes perfect sense. Dr. D told Lucille he did not do those studies. No, of course he does not actually DO them himself, but as a surgeon who has dealt with complex cases, can he honestly say he has never been present or GUIDED the radiologist in what needs to be seen in any given imaging? Dr. Mucci wrote in his notes that an x-ray interpreted as normal in the ER at Cape Cod Hospital actually showed a narrowed airway caused by the tongue displacement. Lucille had to bring the film to him because he had only seen the report. He put his reading of the film in his written report and again told her to bring this EVIDENCE to Dr. D which she did and he IGNORED. He seems to have IGNORED everything that indicated the actual problem...except for the very first time she consulted him. She claims he was so thorough and actually viewed her MRI himself (not like Dr. Cheney, who never looked at the actual images, but only the report) Dr. D even pointed out an area on the MRI in the exact area of the platysma plication that he said looked like scar tissue. I know from feeling this area myself that it was like a thick cord as taught and unyielding as a rope of fishing line..the thickness of a narrow pencil. I took pictures of it and video of her while she tried to lift her chin. It would have torn from the bone before it budged, and it prevented her from breathing, protruding her tongue, swallowing.. with her head in a normal position. It's impossible NOT to see this. For a surgeon to ignore this it is DELIBERATE.

Instead, he referred her to MEEI, where she had already been seen on Dr. Mucci's referral. I was with her when she saw Dr. Mack Cheney at MEEI who barley looked at her (and never once touched her face or neck). She clearly couldn't keep her jaw closed with her head in a normal position. He patted her on the shoulder and said "give me a few weeks to review your case, but I THINK WE CAN HELP YOU'. Here was another doctor who instilled this FALSE HOPE.. I always knew when these doctors were feeding her a line just to get rid of her, and find them all the more deplorable for this duplicity. She called and called.. months went by and then over one year later, his secretary left a message on her answering machine saying "Dr. Cheney has nothing to offer". I have witnessed this happen to her too many times to recall here. When she told me she was going to see Dr. D again, I knew he was leading her on again, with no intention of actually doing the only thing that can possibly help her, which would be to OPERATE ON HER. I certainly do NOT believe him when he says he is confused about the cause of her symptoms. That he would expect anyone to believe such a lame excuse is an insult to Lucille's intelligence.

Of all the surgeons Lucille consulted, Dr. D was the one she most trusted because that first meeting impressed her so greatly. She claims he was the only surgeon who recognized the problem was caused by the tethering of the platysma muscle, which he stated in his written report. She did the stretching exercises he suggested and rather than improve things, it actually made things worse because the muscle could not stretch any further.. it had to be surgically released. Dr. Mucci ordered a special Modified Barium Swallow for her where she pulled up on the platysma muscle and this x-ray actually showed the instant improvement in swallowing. I was with her when Dr. Mucci said to her "Now you have the proof.. bring this to Dr. der-Sarkissian". She did, but he IGNORED that study, just like he "ignored" doing the most instinctive thing a surgeon would do: To examine her by performing the same pulling she did for the x-ray. This is a doctor who repaired the worst kinds of traumatic injuries. Does he expect anyone to believe he can't differentiate the cause of her inability to close her jaw, lift her chin, elevate her tongue to swallow normally? He is an ENT surgeon, so shouldn't he be able to determine why her soft palate pulls down? She has to put traction on her ears with metal HOOKS, for God's sake.. just to relieve the pain in her ears!

The only time I ever saw her able to keep her head up, eat, breathe, speak or in any way function normally was for a few months when she used metal clips to lift the tension pulling the insides of her neck and throat down. I also saw the huge necrosis on the sides of her face from having to resort to such a drastic measure just to breathe. When her neurologist saw this, he urged her to return to Dr. Mucci. She resorted to those clips because she swore she would never again subject herself to the humiliation of another "medical encounter" as she called her frustrating meetings with doctors who minimized and denied something that anyone of normal intelligence can understand simply by studying her photos and x-rays. It's not rocket science. You only have to compare the placement of her ears and jaw in the before and after photos. It is impossible for a plastic surgeon NOT to recognize the extreme displacement of both internal and external anatomy, yet Dr. D would never comment on those or her videos which clearly show the drastic change before and after.

I have been watching my friend die a slow and painful death since Dr. Eppley operated on her. I have witnessed for myself ten years of doctors lying to this woman and covering their backsides and those of their colleagues while denying the crippling cause for the destruction of her life. So when I hear patients praise surgeons like Dr. der-Sarkissian and Dr. Joel Feldman who deliberately deceive and refuse to use their skills to save a woman's life who was in perfect health before she entrusted her health to unscrupulous surgeons, I can only conclude that they are just as guilty as the surgeons who actually performed the botched operations.

I have known this woman for many years and am closer to her than any member of her family. Everyone has deserted her and she has withdrawn even from the few friends who still care about her. She is sensitive to the frustration I and her other good friend feel because we are HELPLESS TO HELP HER. Her family should be ashamed, particularly her sister. Lucille was and "easy kill" for the doctors at Mass General and Dr. Feldman and his attorneys. She has withstood character assassination by doctors who know their faulty judgement is responsible for destroying her health and her life. It's hard to recall what she was like before.

She's the most courageous person I know. Yes, there are people with worse physical infirmities, but their physical limitations are not DENIED.. they are not labeled as malingerers or psychotics by medical professionals. Surviving in spite of the insult and injury she endures daily takes real courage. She continues to survive abuse that would have driven the most level headed person to insanity and suicide long ago. She's butchered in body, mind and spirit.. every day. I would have thrown in the towel long ago.

I have been her health care proxy for years and resent the hell out of Dr. Feldman and his lawyers trying to portray her wishes to have her "severed head" studied after her death "so they can see what they did wrong" as some sort of threat. The only threat she poses to them is in revealing the many lies and cover-ups of their mistakes. Why should an ethical doctor look upon exposure of his own actions as threatening ?

I have seen the effort it takes for Lucille to get through an afternoon, and that was months ago. She doesn't allow anyone, even her closest friends, to see the real extent of her physical struggle. She claims she would rather die than ask anyone for help and will not be surprised if she meets her demise because she it too proud or stubborn or both to let anyone help her with the chores of daily life. Lucille is the least "needy" person I know. She is stubbornly independent, to the point of self-sacrifice. If she asks anyone for help, you can bet that person has been on the receiving end of her kindness and generosity for years. I've seen strangers moved by her courage in reading the email she receives. I've also seen the horrible hate mail sent her way by vicious, malevolent types. I'm sure she knows how much I care about her, but it's time I make my love and admiration for this remarkable woman known to all.

The damage from her operations was due to the negligence of the surgeons involved. the most damaging being that of Dr. Barry Eppley. What this man did to her is an abomination, and she is not his only victim. Dr. Eppley has been found guilty of malpractive before. His record is online. He is currently being sued by a Nurse Practitioner who mearly died because of his utter negligence.

I've watched Lucille do the most incredible things just to survive.. things I would never have the guts to do. From what I have seen, surgeons like Dr. D, who could have helped her years ago, would rather watch her suffer and die.. It's hard to imagine these soft spoken doctors with their compassionate exteriors capable of such blatant disregard for life. I have seen too much deception close up to believe any of these doctors possess a conscience.. . I condemn each one of them who put her where she is and wonder if they are human enough to feel any remorse. If surgeons like Dr. der-Sarkissian and Dr. Feldman, who could have and SHOULD have helped her, allow her to die, I will be around to remind them of the many years of opportunity they had to save her life but threw away.

Links to photos and more:

http://vimeo.com/luciacovelli/videos

http://losingface.net

http://tinyurl.com/6g5v5c

http://plasticsurgeryvictim.wordpress.com/

I forgot to mention

I forgot to mention something important. I was one of the HBO film crew for the documentary 'Plastic Disasters'. While Lucille was in with Dr. D being filmed by Kate Davis, I had the opportunity to have a private discussion with the Speech-Language Pathologist who performed the nasoendoscopy. I believe he is a professor of SPL Pathology. I think his name is George Charpied. He told me that Lucille's swallowing was very "messed up" from her surgery. He said it was SO BAD that he didn't think any surgeon wanted to operate on her or "get involved". That is a far cry from what Dr. D said for the camera. He made it sound as if her breathing and swallowing problems were in her head.. In fact, his exact words were that her problems "might be something to hang her hat on...something to FIXATE on".

To the person who posted something about Dr. D saying Lucille had body dysmorphic disorder. That was never true, and I am appalled that he would say so, let alone to a patient. But didn't Dr. Feldman do the same thing, as well as Dr. Eppley? They are too insecure and cowardly to admit they can be wrong, so they tear apart the character of the victim of their mistakes. It's almost as it they believe in destroying the EVIDENCE of their misdeeds, they can erase the fact that they made them! They do not relate to their misdeeds as a HUMAN LIFE their actions have destroyed.

Lucille is the last person in the world who would let anything prevent her from doing what she loves most, which used to be gardening and being out of doors in natural settings. She always hated to spend time indoors and would be outside in all weather. She has been rendered a literal cripple because she can't breathe enough to walk out of her apartment. She can't breathe sitting still in a chair.

I spoke with Dianne, who brought Lucille to her last appointment with Dr. D. She said he was looking in her mouth and it was very obvious that Lucille couldn't hold her breath any longer, as she CANNOT BREATHE with her head in a normal position as when he was looking in her mouth. She said it was very apparent that Lucille couldn't keep her head up and when she finally put it down she was GASPING. Dr. D. didn't react at all. She said if Lucille hadn't forced her head down, she believes she could have choked right in front of him and his mind is SO CLOSED that he is blind to what is before his eyes.

Why has Dr. D been stringing her along like this? Anyone can look in her mouth and watch her tongue pull down and even see the soft palate pull down with a light. The SPL at Cape Cod Hospital who raised her voice to Lucille and insisted her airway was "wide open" yelled those very words while her tongue was pulling down closing it off! Thousands of people have seen her fluoroscopy on YouTube, including SP-L's and have commented on this. Lucille CANNOT close her jaw, but Dr. D would know that if he actually examined her, which he did not. I have felt the strength it takes to hold her jaw in place against a pull which is obviously forcing it open because muscle which enables it to close is damaged. If **I** can feel this, as did Dianne, two other filmmakers and a journalist why couldn't Dr. D? Is he waiting for her to die? If so, he won't have long. He also won't be called to do her autopsy, because now her trust is trust shattered. I told her when I saw his reaction on the day we filmed that he "turned". I saw it again with the false promises of the airway fluoroscopy. I guess when it's your own life, you just grasp at straws.

He didn't when he made a show of it for the film, but he actually did not examine her. Dianne said he did not examine her when she was present.

He claims to have read all the email she sent him , as well as examined her photos and videos in preparation for the film project. If that is true, it makes his deliberate avoidance all the more conspicuous.

FYI, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner went back the next day to talk with Mr. Charpeid to see if he would repeat to them on camera what he told me. He would not.

Lucille's new website:
http://losingface.net

The tragedy of this story is

The tragedy of this story is obvious to total strangers. This is a must see video. Kudos to Joey from Connecticut.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSiDPv6u2l0

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