Insult Added to Injury of Breast-Surgery Victim

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(WOMENSENEWS)–Insult was just added to the injuries of a woman who underwent a double mastectomy that was performed in error.

“She did not lose her life, and with the plastic surgery, she’ll have breast reconstruction better than she had before,” said Dr. Harry J. Metropol, speaking last week before a legislative panel on tort reform. “It won’t be National Geographic, hanging to her knees. It’ll be nice, firm breasts.”

The woman in question is Linda McDougal. She lost both her breasts last year after being misdiagnosed with breast cancer.

The doctor, a former chief of surgery at Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital in Columbia, S.C., made his remarks as part of his testimony in favor of caps on malpractice suit verdicts before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

“A lot of people were shocked by what [Metropol] said,” said state Rep. Scott Talley, R-Spartanburg, a subcommittee member. The unnecessary surgery “was a horrible incident and making light of it was not appropriate.”

Among those to criticize the remark was McDougal’s lawyer, Chris Messerly. “Linda has 31 inches of scars on her chest, and they removed her nipples,” he told a reporter. According to Messerly, McDougal, a Wisconsin resident, is recovering from her first reconstructive surgery. She has become a leading critic of reforms to limit where people can sue and how much they can collect.

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