'I laid there, just in shock': Hunter woman takes legal action over breast surgery

Word of warning: Krystal Bailey, of Karuah, took legal action against the doctor who "botched" her breast augmentation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Word of warning: Krystal Bailey, of Karuah, took legal action against the doctor who "botched" her breast augmentation. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

A HUNTER woman is urging others to "do their research" before going under the knife after her experience at the hands of the now suspended cosmetic surgeon, Dr Leslie Blackstock.

Krystal Bailey said she spent the first two weeks after her first breast augmentation surgery with Dr Blackstock lying in bed, crying.

"I couldn't leave the house," she said. "Each surgery he did created more and more problems, from the simple fact he gave me the wrong implants to start with."

Ms Bailey is one of "dozens" of women who have made allegations of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct and negligence against Dr Blackstock.

"I know of at least 60 girls who have gone through a similar experience with Dr Blackstock," she said.

Ms Bailey is among almost 30 women who enlisted Newcastle-based Catherine Henry Lawyers to pursue legal action against Dr Blackstock.

Allegations include the doctor asking patients - while still sedated - if they were satisfied with the appearance of their breasts; procedures being performed without an anaesthetist; surgery needing to be redone multiple times; and incompetently managing complications from his surgeries.

Ms Bailey, who had previously had breast implants, said she had sought Dr Blackstock's services to fix a "double bubble" - a common complication of a breast augmentation that occurs when the natural breast tissue sags below the implant.

"After I had my son, I had just lost all of my boobs completely. I had little empty sacks, basically, and I really wanted boobs again - so I went and got some," Ms Bailey said. "I absolutely loved my first implants. My initial surgeon warned me that I may get a double bubble, and I did.

"After a year, I decided I wanted to get it fixed. But he was a little bit out of my price range at that time, so I started looking at other surgeons."

She said Dr Blackstock, who was operating out of a clinic at Emu Plains in Sydney, told her he could fix the double bubble.

Prior to her surgery with the doctor in 2015, Ms Bailey said they had agreed on the size, style and "projection" of her implants.

"I was awake during my whole surgery," she said. "He sat me up during the surgery and I could see my loose skin just hanging under the implants where they had cut me open, and he said, 'These are the 580 moderate implants'.

"My partner was FaceTiming during the surgery, and he said, 'But she wanted 560 or 605 extra high profile'. The doctor cut him off immediately... Hung up. I said, 'I asked for the 560, and that's what I was expecting'. He said, 'Well, they are not on the table'."

Ms Bailey said the implants Dr Blackstock had used were bigger - wide and flat "like a pancake", rather than the smaller, "perkier" ones they had agreed on prior to the procedure.

"I just laid there in shock," she said. "He put these implants in me that weren't the right size, they weren't the right profile - they were nothing like what I had asked for. He said, 'What do you want me to do? Close you up with these implants? Or with nothing?'"

She made a complaint.

"He told me the nurses could 'not recall' my surgery," she said. "This was the very next day."

He called her back in for a second surgery.

"Because my implants were under the muscle, he had made the pockets too big to give me the ones I had asked for," she said. "His idea of fixing the problem was to give me the projection I had asked for, with the diameter he needed to fill the pockets.

"He offered to give me 690 CC - which are huge. I didn't want that. I didn't even need to go bigger. My main reason to go to him was to get the double bubble fixed. And he never actually fixed that.

"He just gave me the wrong implants."

After the second surgery, Ms Bailey said her breast implants were bigger, wider, and very heavy. As soon as the swelling subsided, she could see they had "sunk to the bottom".

"They were sitting so low - they still didn't fit the bigger pocket he had created," she said. "They continued to fall, and pretty much ended up on my stomach. It was really uncomfortable. It pulled so much on my muscles. My right breast, especially, felt like it was digging into my ribs, it felt like there was a muscle pulling, constantly."

Ms Bailey said she had become anxious and stressed.

"I don't like to look at myself in the mirror. It makes me angry. I have this overwhelming, anxious, angry feeling about what this guy has done to me," she said.

Dr Blackstock sent her to Dr Tim Papadopoulous - a specialist plastic surgeon - to get a "report" on how to proceed.

"Dr Tim recommended that I take out the implants for at least three months," she said. "That was my next surgery with Dr Blackstock. I went back for my 10-week appointment and he insisted I was healing wonderfully, and that I was ready to start over with new implants.

"He insisted the pockets would have healed enough to have the implants I'd asked for initially. As soon as the swelling went down, it was the same thing again. They were saggy. Bottomed out. They still are.

"They have no support. Because the pockets are so big, they pretty much just flop around. I have spent a fortune on bras to be able to be comfortable and to lift them up to where they should be - to make them look normal."

Ms Bailey spent tens of thousands of dollars on surgery that had still had not fixed her "double bubble". She could not turn back time, but she could warn others.

"I hope I can help even one person," she said. "I would hope they do their research, and go to a plastic surgeon - who has specialist training in this area - not a cosmetic surgeon."

Dr Blackstock's licence was suspended in 2017. Health lawyer, Catherine Henry, said the cases all shared a similar narrative that began with him enticing patients with a low-price breast augmentation procedure.

"All the focus is on signing them up," she said. "Some of the clients we are acting for have talked about having the procedure performed on a sheet draped over two old lounge chairs."

Ms Henry said plastic surgeons typically spent 10-to-15 years completing specialist surgical training, but a "cosmetic surgeon" could be anyone with an undergraduate medical degree.

Dr Blackstock made his way around anaesthesia requirements by giving patients 'twilight sedation' - meaning they had a level of awareness during procedures.

"He gets them to sit up to show them his work - he sometimes FaceTimes a family member or boyfriend to see if they approve of the size of the breast, and this is all very traumatic," she said.

"The patients can be in unacceptable pain, badly scarred, and have had to have revisionary surgery. In some cases, people have gone to other surgeons to try to improve the result they have been left with."

Dr Blackstock was approached for comment via his legal representatives.