Another patient shows up after plastic surgery nightmare – NBC Los Angeles


Tracy Carter says her plastic surgery went horribly wrong and she soon realized she wasn’t alone. NBC 4’s I-Team learned this despite multiple complaints now detailed against his plastic surgeon, he continues to practice.

“If something like this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone,” said Carter, who is a registered nurse.

When she decided she wanted to treat herself to a tummy tuck, she did her research.

“I looked at the medical board, I read the reviews online,” she explained. “I looked at him, I didn’t see anything.” But she says the surgery performed by Dr. Max Lehfeldt of Pasadena changed her life forever, and not in the way she had imagined.

“The first day I came home and bled through all my bandages, and it just got really bad from there,” Carter said. “Over the course of 8 weeks I became very sick.”

As an obstetrics nurse, she knew what to expect with the surgery, but she thinks the repeated use of the same antibiotic during her recovery sent her into a downward spiral. She developed an infection so severe that she had to be hospitalized for 9 days. Her son Ryan was shocked by what he witnessed.

“All the doctors and nurses who walked into the room had their mouths on the floor when they saw what she looked like,” Ryan Stewart said. He was shocked by what he saw his mother endure.

“I would never talk about another story where a person’s belly button falls out, or a person has to be home with tweezers digging inside their insides,” Stewart said.

“It was like a bomb went off inside me. I hurt every day,” Carter said. “I don’t think I’ll be the same inside, it still hurts.” She soon realized she wasn’t alone when she saw this NBC-4 I-Team report on Wendy Knecht, also a patient of Dr. Lehfeldt. Knecht filed a lawsuit against him for fraud and malpractice after breast reconstruction complications following his double mastectomy. Lehfeldt settled without admitting guilt for $1,000,000.

Knecht became “Patient A” in a charge by the Director of the Medical Board {see attachment} against Lehfedlt. This stems from a complaint she first filed in 2016, which the board initially dismissed.

Knecht’s persistence led to his reopening, and eventually 3 more patients were added to the charge, including Carter who is “Patient D.”

The prosecution cites Lehfeldt’s failure to obtain a culture from Carter’s wound, repeated use of the same antibiotic, and failure to document patient consent, all “a departure from the standard of care.” The prosecution also notes “repeated negligent acts in the care and treatment of Patient A, Patient B, Patient C and Patient D”, rendering Lehfedlt’s license “subject to discipline”.

Carter says the hardest part of this ordeal is knowing that Lehfeldt is still training.

in fact, he was supposed to attend a hearing in January to answer this accusation before the full council. but he requested an extension, which the medical board granted until June 2022.

We asked Dr. Lehfeldt for an interview about the Carter allegations and the accusation of the medical board director, but he did not respond to our emails or phone messages.

The Medical Council does not comment on ongoing investigations, but its own published reports indicate that only around 10% of complaints are investigated, and such investigations take an average of 3 years.

Carter says the experience was so traumatic that she feared for her life. She says she is a different person today. What was supposed to be a 5-week recovery stretched out over 7 months, and persistent pain prevents him from returning to work in the operating room. She says the trauma of what she endured from 3 more surgeries and her now chronic pain changed her forever.

“My mom is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met, and it broke her,” Stewart said.

Patient advocates say Carter’s story is all too common. They complained that Medical Board investigations favor doctors and take far too long, potentially putting other patients at risk. The board argues it must meet a high burden of proof when it comes to punishing doctors or revoking licenses, but earlier this month the board called on state lawmakers to modify these requirements.


Comments are closed.