After three failed attempts at breast augmentation and the consequent shedding of countless tears, Karuah woman Krystal Bailey has finally had a win.
Thanks to her Newcastle-based lawyer Catherine Henry, the young mum successfully settled her case for a negligent breast augmentation against suspended cosmetic surgeon Dr Leslie Blackstock in June 2019.
Krystal’s nightmare began in 2015 when she trusted Dr Blackstock to fix a “double bubble” deformity which had developed following a breast augmentation procedure she’d had the previous year.
Dr Blackstock’s remedy was to replace her implants with even larger ones, a solution that made her breasts drop significantly under the weight of the new implants.
A different plastic surgeon told Krystal her implants were too large and needed to be replaced with smaller implants.
Dr Blackstock again replaced the implants but, in the three months that followed, a cavity formed in the skin between her breasts.
By the end of 2015, Krystal would need further surgery to fix her disfigurement, but she was now in debt and suffering from poor mental health.
“I had worked hard to get the breasts I wanted, and Dr Blackstock took all that away from me,” Krystal said.
“I didn’t get what I asked for from Dr Blackstock but I felt powerless to do anything about it.
“I thought: ‘No one is going to believe me, [no one would] take my side over a doctor.’”
Thankfully Krystal’s friends convinced her to pursue the matter further when they learned Dr Blackstock’s Facebook page had been shut down after numerous women were making negative comments about his surgeries.
“I was not the only woman to whom these things had happened,” Krystal said.
“It was comforting and gave me courage to act.”
Krystal is one of more than 80 women who have registered with Catherine Henry Lawyers in a bid to seek legal action or have made a complaint against Dr Blackstock.
On 5 April 2019, a Judge of the NSW District Court found Dr Blackstock had been negligent in his treatment of a patient who had had breast augmentation surgery.
She was awarded in excess of $200,000 for her pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses plus legal costs.
The NSW Medical Council has suspended Dr Blackstock’s registration, but he has not been de-registered.
Dr Blackstock is not a specialist surgeon, despite describing himself on his website as a plastic surgeon with suitable skill and expertise in breast augmentation surgery.
Allegations and complaints against Dr Blackstock include procedures being performed without an anaesthetist, asking patients while sedated if they are satisfied with the appearance of their breasts, no examination or assessment pre-procedure, surgery having to be redone multiple times, and incompetently managing complications from his surgery.
For Krystal, the experience, and the sharing of it, has been stressful but necessary.
“There was instant relief that someone was listening to me and thought they could help me,” she said.
“But re-telling my story was stressful, daunting and scary.
“At times I couldn’t cope with all the information I needed to provide.
“I thought: ‘This is never going to go anywhere.’”
Taking legal action, Krystal says, was about protecting other women as well.
“I hope he never gets to operate again, and no other women goes through what I went through,” she said.
“It isn’t just the botched surgery, it is the fact that he lied about his qualifications.
“He was arrogant, rude and he didn’t care. He didn’t show any remorse for his actions.”
If you have experienced poor care from Dr Blackstock, contact Catherine Henry Lawyers.