SCARRED FOR LIFE

THESE WOMEN FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY WHY THE COSMETIC SURGERY CLINIC THEY CHOSE WAS UNDER INVESTIGATION

A 1965 North High School graduate, Mesa had raised her children and then returned to the work force in the late 1980s. Rosen hired her as a medical assistant and she soon took on a slew of responsibilities.

Mesa met with prospective patients when they walked into the clinic with their heads in the clouds and their hands on their wallets. "Most of the times," Mesa recalls, "they didn't even ask the doctor's name or want to know if they could even see a doctor. They were excited. They wanted their surgeries done."

Though not a nurse, Mesa performed nurse- and doctorlike duties at the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Scottsdale in addition to her job as saleswoman.

"The day after surgery, I would remove the tubes from their incision," she says, "and take the bandages off . . . . Then they would come back on the seventh day and I would remove their stitches and again make sure that the implant was moving freely." Sharon Mesa was a good soldier almost to the end. "Ms. Mesa stated that Naud was an observer," a July 1990 Scottsdale police report says. "She stated Dr. Rosen would demonstrate techniques during surgery while Dr. Naud watched. Ms. Mesa stated Naud never touched a patient while she was present."

But in recent deposition testimony, Mesa apparently told the truth. "Dr. Naud was the one who primarily did the surgeries, correct?" Phoenix attorney Charlie Buri asked her.

"Yes," Mesa replied. "When he was in town."
Naud was in town on June 9, 1990, when Rebecca Wilson came into the office for her operation.

BECKY WILSON IS a 53-year-old technical assistant for a central Phoenix firm. The Indiana native lost about 100 pounds a few years ago after an intestinal by-pass and had been suffering from uncomfortable, unsightly and unhealthy mounds of skin hanging over her midsection.

Lured by an advertisement, Wilson met with Naud and set up an appointment for a $3,500 abdominoplasty, or a glorified tummy tuck. "I also had a hernia that needed fixing," she adds, "and they told me okay, they'd take care of it, that I'd be as good as new in a couple of weeks."

Sharon Mesa says Naud was the lead surgeon during Wilson's surgery, with Rosen assisting. Rosen has sworn that he performed the surgery, not Naud.

The medical records Rosen later provided to BOMEX don't answer that or other basic questions. The clinic's records in general "contain inadequate or no history," according to BOMEX's complaint against Rosen, "no physical or operative report, anesthesia record, informed consent, consultation, or post-op visits."

BOMEX has alleged that Becky Wilson's surgery was a horrendous failure:
"Insufficient skin was removed, the umbilicus was scarred and not re-created, the abdominal wall was not sufficiently tightened, and the hernia was not repaired. The patient was left with deformations that did not exist before the surgery." These "deformations" included pubic hair that BOMEX says somehow ended up eight inches higher than normal.

Wilson went to a hospital emergency room within a day of her surgery. "Everytime I stood up, blood would run down my legs," Wilson says. "I couldn't contact Rosen and I was told to call 911. I was kind of out of it and I was crying."

She stayed at the hospital over the weekend, suffering, she says, from excessive bloody drainage from her midsection. Rosen visited Wilson at the hospital, and soon recommended what he now says was "scar revision, for minor corrective surgery. The patient was rather mentally unstable, very emotional, and made it into a far bigger deal than it was."

She agreed to return to the clinic for her second surgery in mid-July 1990.

"If I feel that I can improve on the incision, I'll go back and improve on it," Rosen says, adding that the results of Wilson's first surgery were "reasonably good."

By that time, Scottsdale police detectives had started to investigate the clinic after they heard complaints about the goings-on there. Earlier in the year, BOMEX had done some of its own investigating after a prospective patient complained that the clinic had billed her Medicare carrier for $42.35 after an ad had promised a "free, private consultation."

Wilson knew the police were on the hunt because a Scottsdale detective had interviewed her in late June, after her first stomach operation. But she returned for her second "corrective" surgery anyway. Joe Naud was back in Michigan, so Rosen apparently performed the operation by himself.

"I guess Dr. Rosen convinced me it would be all right," Wilson says. "I wanted him to be a good doctor. He said, `It's like going to a dentist, it will take twenty-thirty minutes tops.' It took more than two hours. He told me, `I really did a good job.' But I was all swollen up and it was really lopsided. I was all out of line and I didn't have a bellybutton."

Explains Rosen, "Dr. Naud uses a technique where he does not reconstruct the bellybutton. You should have an indentation. If there were not a bellybutton, I don't think it would be overwhelmingly surprising."

Becky Wilson later underwent a third operation. This one, performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, went well, she says. "I don't look so awful anymore," she says. She has a better chance than Sue Holmes of collecting damages through Rosen's insurance company because her surgery was not strictly cosmetic.

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