Tuesday November 13, 2007- Donda West, the mother and manager of rapper Kanye West, died following cosmetic surgery it has been confirmed.

Patricia Green, Donda West's publicist told CNN West died following a "cosmetic procedure" in Los Angeles at the weekend. Green would not give details about the procedure or exactly what the cause of death was.

The “cosmetic procedure” in question was a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. While these procedures aren’t exactly as complex as open heart surgery, they still involve cutting open the body cavity.
Surgery of any sort is not something that should be taken lightly. This is why training for surgery is some of the most exacting and strenuous in the world. Surgeons are also supposed to be licensed, certified, and held to very strict standards.

The death of Kanye West’s mother after her surgery simply re-emphasizes the point that while it is pointless to expect surgeons to be infallible, they shouldn’t be allowed to continue to practice if they exhibit a pattern of mistakes and erratic behavior.

Jan Adams’ Checkered Past

The doctor who performed the surgery on Dr. West has not shown good judgment or professionalism throughout the course of his career. While Kanye West’s mother was the patient who suffered the most tragic of outcomes, she was the last patient in a career of malpractice lawsuits, arrests, and lapses in personal and professional responsibility.

- In 2001, two malpractice judgments were levied against Dr. Adams. One was for $217,337, and the second was for the damages-cap maximum of $250,000.
- In 2003, a woman had to have a surgical sponge removed that was left in her body after a procedure by Dr. Adams that occurred in 1998. The woman received a $100,000 judgment, which Dr. Adams has yet to pay.
- A lawsuit was filed in June of this year in Orange County against Dr. Adams, in which the plaintiff claimed that Adams "negligently and carelessly examined, diagnosed, cared for, treated and performed surgery upon plaintiff, failing to follow the standard care ..."
- Adams has two DUI arrests. The first one occurred in January of 2003, to which he pleaded no contest and received three years probation. The second occurred in March of 2006, where his blood alcohol content was measured at .10. He was found not guilty of driving over the limit, but was instead found guilty of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater.
- Adams’ ex-girlfriend filed a restraining order against him in 2002, claiming “"Defendant has an unfortunate drinking problem and unless restrained immediately, will assert the worst side of his 'Jekyll and Hyde' personality when he is intoxicated." She goes on, "Defendant is very attached to my children and he has been abusive when intoxicated in their presence, so he must stay away from them, also.”

It might seem unfair to bring Dr. Adams’ use of alcohol into this, but it was that same alcohol use that caused the California Board of Medicine to recommend that his license be suspended for unprofessional conduct in 2006.

In addition to the multiple judgments, arrests for driving while intoxicated and the restraining orders, it should also be noted that Dr. Adams is not board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.

For all of the talk from tort reform organizations about how the majority of lawsuits are “frivolous,” or about how doctors are being driven out of business due to “bad lawsuits,” the public never seems to hear about the fact that there are in fact incompetent and dangerous doctors out there. Nor are they informed about how difficult it is for a doctor to actually lose his or her license.

Many states have ridiculously high thresholds of tolerance for doctors that have made multiple mistakes or even committed felonies. An article from the Virginian-Pilot gives several examples of still licensed Virginia doctors that are part of an increasingly disturbing national trend:

“ A Norfolk physician who injected cancer patients with medicine made with tiny amounts of their own feces.
- An Abingdon surgeon who accidentally cut out most of a woman's bladder and lost another patient just hours after a hysterectomy.
- A Winchester ear, nose and throat specialist who fondled six young boys during office visits.
- An Army doctor imprisoned for sexual battery of two underage girls during examinations.
- A Norfolk doctor imprisoned for murdering his wife with a .22-caliber rifle.”

Doctors rarely simply offer an apology and offer to make things right. In fact, the doctors (or their insurance company lawyers) will often try to shift the blame to the victim. Dr. Adams did just that in a recent article in People magazine:

As for his smattering of legal woes, including 11 malpractice suits, Adams is unmoved. "When people say 'plastic surgery' they think of me," he says. "These suits don't represent bad plastic surgery, they represent a bad decision in terms of choice of patient."

The death of Dr. West is a real example of how incompetent doctors are given second and third chances when they absolutely shouldn’t. If you plan on getting elective surgery, you should definitely do some research into the background of the person wielding the scalpel. And if you find yourself injured or disabled due to the mistakes or incompetence of a medical professional, contact the Dover Law Firm for a free legal consultation today.