Several women who are suing two Jacksonville plastic surgeons for botched breast implant surgeries are now accusing the doctors and implant manufacturer of fraud.
The women believe implant maker Allergan signed off on phony warranty claims by Doctors Mark and Loren Clayman.
As the Florida Times-Union first reported last year, three women filed suits claiming the father-son duo of plastic surgeons left them disfigured with substandard breast augmentations. Since that report, nearly 200 of their patients have sought legal counsel from the Terrell Hogan law firm, saying they live with permanent scars, numbness and chronic pain.
Some women also say they experienced severe bacterial infections, they allege because of an unsanitary method of filling saline implants, which caused black mold spores to grow.
On Tuesday, Yolanda Hannan was one of three women filing new suits.
“I didn't have the money, and every time I told [Dr. Loren Clayman] I needed help, he offered to do the surgeries for free. Where else could I go? And I’m damaged, and I’m always going to be damaged,” she said.
Hannan, like the 16 others who’ve sued formally since last December, said Clayman performed several corrective surgeries he said were due to defective implants — not shoddy surgery.
Hannan’s lawyer, Chris Shakib, alleges extra surgeries are part of a conspiracy to profit off of botched jobs.
“What we found was really a scheme to defraud. This is a big scheme where doctors were able to take something bad, their inability to perform breast augmentations within the standard of care, and they turned it into a money maker,” he said.
Shakib said the doctors netted close to $9 million in warranty claims after saying 5,516 implants were defective over a 15 year period.
He calls that number “statistically impossible” considering the implants have a defective rate averaging around 1 percent a year.
He said manufacturer Allergan rubber stamped the warranty claims and covered the cost of follow-up surgeries, knowing the doctors were big buyers of its other products, like Botox.
The doctors are in danger of losing their licenses, Shakib said.
“We’ve helped our clients make claims to the Department of Health, which manages the complaints on behalf of the Florida Medical Board, and they’ve interviewed a large number of our clients already and that process is ongoing,” he said.
Mark Clayman hadn’t had complaints lodged against him with the Department of Health before, but Loren Clayman had three made against him in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to a DOH spokesman.
The Department of Health cannot confirm or deny whether an investigation has been initiated until 10 days after probable cause is found. With close to 200 cases to submit to the state, Shakib said he expects the process to take some time. If the department doesn’t find probable cause, then the complaints will never be made public.
Shakib believes his clients represent the most DOH complaints ever made about a single doctor, Loren Clayman.
Allergan told WJCT it does not comment on pending litigation, and a call to the doctors’ office was not answered.
Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.