Omaha, NE physician Dr. Gerard J. Stanley Junior’s credentials seem up to par when reading his biography on the website of his practice, SCULPT Contemporary Cosmetic Surgery—he was even recently dubbed one of the “best cosmetic surgeons” in his city by Omaha Magazine, following his recognition as Readers’ Choice Best Cosmetic Surgeon—but the stories and lawsuits that have been surfacing from 15 newly disfigured women as a result of procedures underwent in that very building are telling otherwise.
Upon investigating his background, the painful truth surfaced: Even though he told patients otherwise, Dr. Stanley is not a board-certified surgeon qualified to perform cosmetic or plastic surgery at all. In fact, he is a general physician, board-certified in family medicine. The 15 lawsuits filed against him (Tom Gleason, a paralegal representing 14 of the women, told The Daily Beast his firm is still getting phone calls from new women coming forward about their alleged botched cosmetic surgeries) allege that he “held himself out” to patients as a board-certified surgeon qualified to perform cosmetic and plastic surgery. As a result of his untrained work, the women in question suffered scarring, disfigurement and pain from botched procedures including breast lifts, butt lifts, breast augmentations, tummy tucks and liposuction.
During trial, as Omaha.com reports, one of the women even showed photos of the scars left under her arm from a procedure designed to remove excess skin left by major weight loss. While scarring is normal after any surgery, this woman says she suffered major nerve damage and still continues to have pain in her arm.
In the wake of these accusations, Dr. Stanley closed his practice for good last week. In a statement released Monday, Thomas Shomaker and Thomas Gross of Sodoro Daly Shomaker & Selde in Omaha, attorneys representing Dr. Stanley in the various cases, said that he is a “qualified cosmetic surgeon and he provided proper medical care to each of these patients.” However, his nonboard-certification is the largest red flag patients should see waving high in front of his—and any doctor’s—office.
Dr. Stanley is not listed as being board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, further proving that your doctor’s word is not enough when it comes to certification. Instead, always do your homework and verify that your doctor is board-certified, in good standing and qualified to perform the procedures that he or she claims they can do. To confirm if your doctor is properly certified, check their status with the American Board of Plastic Surgery here. Checking your state’s medical board is also a good idea (this will provide information on your doctor’s license and any complaints against him or her), as is confirming that your doctor has hospital privileges (all plastic surgeons should, even if your procedure is not performed in a hospital).
Lastly, review your doctor’s training, credentials and how much experience is under his or her belt to ensure you’re in the best possible hands. As these 15 women had to learn the hard way, there’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to safety and surgery.