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Man without a nose files lawsuit against Tulsa plastic surgeon

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Updated: 6/06/2013 9:02 am Published: 6/05/2013 11:15 pm

A New York man living in Tulsa went to get a nose job with a well-established Tulsa plastic surgeon and five years later does not have a nose.

Vishal Thakkar got a divorce and in 2006 he admittedly made a vain decision.

"I decided to do something selfish," said Thakkar, sitting in his attorney's office in South Tulsa.

Dr. Angelo Cuzalina is known across Green County for his plastic surgery. The Oklahoma Medical Board does not show any complaints in his history. He is listed as president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

"I had the first surgery and suffered some breathing problems, nothing too bad, but it made it hard to exercise and sleep," said Thakkar.

He went back, again and again. Between 2006 and 2007 he had eight surgeries. He then left Tulsa until 2011 and came back for more surgeries. He had several infections. Finally, during a surgery, Thakkar says Cuzalina cut off his nose.

"He told me that there was an infection in there and since I was on the operating table and unconscious he had to make the decision," said Thakkar.

Before another surgery, Thakkar told FOX23 News he told Cuzalina a nurse and the doctor's office manager, to not take anything from his ears, like cartilage for the surgery he was about to have.

"I woke up with pain behind my ear and I said to the nurses, what part of 'Under no circumstances do not touch my ears, do you not understand?'" said Thakkar.

Later, Thakkar said, Cuzalina emailed him.

"In the email he apologized,” he said. 

During another surgery, Thakkar said the doctor ran out of ear cartilage.

"So he cut into my rib cage for cartilage, I didn't know it then, but I do not believe he is licensed for that kind of surgery!"

"By the time I am able to breathe without pain and have a human-looking nose, I will have had 30 surgeries on my face thanks to Angelo Cuzalina."

He has spoken to other plastic surgeons.

"There is no way I am going to live like this. It is worse than being dead. Other surgeons told me that, Vishal, your case is so bad it is unheard of, you must be treated by someone at the top of this field,” said Thakkar. 

On August 31st, 2012 Cuzalina sent Thakkar a form stating he will no longer work on him, "… you are considered medically unstable. Because of your ongoing threats and harassment against my staff, my practice, and me personally…”  the statement read.

It was around this time Thakkar told FOX23 News, he learned Cuzalina was recording their audio and video without letting Thakkar know that was happening during his visits to the office.

The lawsuit filed by Thakkar's attorney, Paul Boudreaux states:

"During this period, and in violation of plaintiff’s medical confidentiality and privileges, Cuzalina hired private investigators and attorneys, and secured hidden audio and video recordings of Plaintiff without Plaintiff's permission or knowledge, in violation of the law and Plaintiff's reasonable expectations of privacy."

“In December of 2011, in the medical record he (Dr. Cuzalina) wrote I am suicidal, but at the same time the medication he is giving me it could easily kill a couple human beings," said Thakkar.

The lawsuit details those drugs:

".. prescribed an excessive amount of medication, enough to kill the patient, if taken, including but not limited to Loratab, Ambien, Valilum, and Oxycodone."

"I have more than 3,000 injections, pain pills and stuff so my liver is pretty much fried," said Thakkar.

FOX23 News learned of Thakkar's story on Friday and called to interview with Cuzalina's attorney, Tim Best. After a few conversations, Best said they are not comfortable doing an interview because they need a signed medical release to speak about Thakkar's medical history.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

BBRBC - 6/18/2013 12:26 PM
0 Votes
Cosmetic Surgeons are NOT plastic surgeons. They are medical doctors who did not go through traditional surgical training with a medical school, but chose instead to spend a year in the office of an already established cosmetic surgeon to get their abbreviated surgical training and experience from him. One year is not enough to get the training that it takes a board certified plastic surgeon to get over several years of training. Cosmetic surgeons also take week-end courses to learn their trade. They create a practice for themselves but have a lack of competence to perform the surgical procedures needed. Dr. Cuzalina was grossly incompetent to address the problems that were created for this patient after the initial surgery but continued to perform surgery after surgery that led to infection and disfigurement. When Cuzalina realized he was in trouble with this patient's bad outcome, he started his defense by blaming the patient and claiming mental instability. His bad judgement to continue with surgery after surgery indicates his attempt to cover up his mistakes and poor outcomes. He should have put his patient first and referred this man to a qualified surgeon to address the serious problems this man sustained from the multiple surgeries. This man has every right to be devastated with what has happened to him with this Dr.'s incompetence and bad judgement.

gogators - 6/11/2013 3:55 PM
0 Votes
Dr Cuzalina is a very well trained cosmetic surgeon with extensive experience who has thousands of happy patients. Having one bad outcome in thousands of surgeries is common for all surgeons in all fields, regardless of which board certifies them. My cousin had a rhinoplasty by Dr C and has a great result. The patient is at least 1/2 of the equation, and it seems in this case he (the patient) may be more of the problem than the surgeon.

BTBEV - 6/8/2013 2:04 PM
0 Votes
You show :09 seconds of the guys face and then Princess News Reader warns "some of the images in this story may be hard to look at." You already showed his face for :09 seconds, how much worse can it be!! Exploitative crap, you deserve to to work in Tulsa!

Dave Harris - 6/7/2013 7:42 PM
0 Votes
Why can't Yahoo even do the background research to tell us that this guy isn't really a plastic surgeon?

Dave Harris - 6/7/2013 7:29 PM
0 Votes
Why can't Yahoo even do the background research to tell us that this guy isn't really a plastic surgeon?

Dave Harris - 6/7/2013 7:11 PM
0 Votes
Why can't Yahoo even do the background research to tell us that this guy isn't really a plastic surgeon?

Dave Harris - 6/7/2013 7:10 PM
0 Votes
Why can't Yahoo even do the background research to tell us that this guy isn't really a plastic surgeon?

Dave Harris - 6/7/2013 7:08 PM
0 Votes
The doctor is a oral surgeon ( basically a dentist). Not a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons have to do a plastic surgery residency.

susanneintulsa - 6/7/2013 12:31 PM
0 Votes
Why isn't Dr. Cuzalina certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not the same thing and is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, as is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a surgeon must undergo extensive training beyond the general surgery residency and must meet extremely stringent requirements.

HadEnough - 6/7/2013 7:32 AM
0 Votes
There is always potential for things going wrong with any surgery and you can't always place blame on the doctor, remember the other 1/2 of the equation is the patient, but you cannot place neglect on the patient for not taking care of themselves properly until you know the exact truth. Dr. Cuzalina is an excellent doctor and his staff are very good people. This story is very unfortunate and I pray for your recovery. Everyone is different and every situation is different, it is a risk you take when you alter what God gave you.
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