Plastic Surgery Nightmares: Dr. Ordon, Dr. Hicks, Galina

Plastic Surgery Nightmares: Dr. Ordon, Dr. Hicks, Galina

Rap superstar Kanya West's mother, Donda West, recently died one day after having plastic surgery. Is Donda's doctor, Jan Adams, responsible for Donda's untimely death?


"Donda had both a breast reduction and a tummy tuck," says Galina Espinoza, senior editor of People magazine. Donda had a distinguished career in education and then became her son's full-time manager. The pair were very close. "For Kanye, this has been the most devastating kind of loss," Galina says. "I mean, all of his friends are worried because they don't know how he's going to be able to function without her."

Now, Donda's plastic surgeon is under fire. Dr. Jan Adams is best known as co-host of the talk show, The Other Half. "He had a thriving media career," Galina says.

Dr. Pearlman Hicks is Dr. Adams' uncle and former business partner. "He told me that he would be vindicated, and he did nothing wrong in the surgery," he says.

Dr. Adams faces several malpractice suits against him, including at least two six-figure judgments. The suits stem from "Common allegations like negligence, and allegations like sexual battery of a patient, which is pretty alarming," Galina says. He's also been arrested for drunk-driving offenses and has a restraining order against him from his ex-wife. The State Medical Board is now examining whether to revoke or suspend his license. 

Dr. Phil explains that he talked with Dr. Adams three times at length, in hopes that he would join the show to give his side of the story. Dr. Adams first requested that his former patients sign releases, giving him permission to speak about their cases. The releases were signed by two of the guests, and although he agreed to appear on the show, Dr. Adams didn't show up.

Dr. Phil asks Dr. Hicks about a comment he made that the media attention is because Dr. Adams is black. "The guy was on television a lot," Dr. Phil says. "He had a high profile as a doctor by being on television. He
operated on a famous person's family member. It seemed like all of that is what really brought this to the media's attention, and it didn't seem to me that race had anything to do with it."

"I'm not saying that race was the main reason," Dr. Hicks says. "No, not at all. I'm saying I think it's lingering a little bit longer than it normally should linger. I said that's part of the problem, but it's not the main problem."


People magazine interviewed Dr. Adams shortly after Donda's death. "I think there were two things that really jumped out at me," Galina shares. "First, when it came to the malpractice suits against him, he actually called them ‘nuisance suits.' He was very dismissive of them, and said that really the only bad mistake he has made was not in performing bad plastic surgery, as these women have claimed, but was in accepting bad patients for plastic surgery. He squarely put the blame on his patients. The other thing that surprised me was how dismissive he was of this idea of board certification. He's not board certified, which is not illegal, but he actually kind of discounted the importance of being board certified in plastic surgery, saying, ‘I think we put too much stock in those kind of credentials.'"

"I think that it's important to be board certified," Dr. Hicks says. "I think that after going through five years of training and four years of medical school, and then two years more of training to become a plastic surgeon, you take the boards to identify with your peers, saying that you are board certified, and you've gone this rigorous route, and you've taken the extra steps to get your certification. And that certification is very difficult to obtain … It's a grueling procedure, but it's worth it."

"You in fact have sued your nephew in the past?" Dr. Phil asks Dr. Hicks.

"Yes. That was about money issues," he explains. "He was my associate about 15 years ago, and we went into practice together, and as our overhead continued to mount, he didn't want to contribute to his part of it, and so, at one point I thought, relative or not, you have to leave unless you're going to pick up your end of the practice, and he didn't, and so I sued him."

"Did you get a judgment?"

"Yeah, but not collected," Dr. Hicks says. "He never paid me. The other thing I want to point out is that oftentimes, doctors who are not certified are not able to operate in a hospital. So if you're thinking, as a patient, of going into cosmetic surgery, you want to see if your doctor has privileges in a hospital. For two reasons: one, the hospital controls and has balances and checks on your practice. They know what you're doing. They know that you're doing the right workups and that sort of thing. And also, if there's a complication, you have a place to take your patient. Oftentimes, when you're doing surgery in an outpatient setting, there's no place to take a patient if you can't admit them to a hospital."