A WHISTLEBLOWER nurse has given explosive evidence to an inquiry into the cosmetic industry.
A WHISTLEBLOWER nurse has given explosive evidence to an inquiry into the cosmetic industry.

Whistleblower horror: ‘Implants were leaking’

A WHISTLEBLOWER nurse has given explosive evidence to an inquiry into the cosmetic industry, saying all of some doctors' patients ended up with post-operative infections until the doctors learnt the basics­ of how to do sutures.

Former registered nurse Nicole­ Montgomery, who worked at The Cosmetic Institute­ for three years, said victims of botched surgery were "grossly let down" by the state government.

 

Nurse Nicole Montgomery worked at the Cosmetic Institute. Picture's Darren Leigh Roberts
Nurse Nicole Montgomery worked at the Cosmetic Institute. Picture's Darren Leigh Roberts


On the first day of public hearings into the cosmetic surgery­ industry, the parliamentary inquiry was told horror­ stories of women returning with implants "showing through the skin".

"You could see the implant, it was leaking, it was everywhere," Ms Montgomery said of one case. "And the surgeon said 'If it falls out, it falls out.' It was a few days before Christmas, (he said) I'm not adding another case to my list.

"The woman went to hospital … the surgeon was never reprimanded." She said other women found a breast had become "like a bowling ball, extremely painful".

 

Sydney breast implant patient Narelle Bayon has been in permanent pain after surgery at The Cosmetic Institute last year. Picture: Richard Dobson
Sydney breast implant patient Narelle Bayon has been in permanent pain after surgery at The Cosmetic Institute last year. Picture: Richard Dobson

 

Ms Montgomery said every time a new "surgeon" turned up at the Parramatta branch of The Cosmetic Institute, the rates of post-operative complications rose. "Whenever you got a new surgeon, they had no experience, they had no background - you're talking two days training," Ms Montgomery said. "We had surgeons who every single patient, for the first month they started, had an infection. Every single patient until they learnt to suture."

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord asked her: "Would you stand by the description that this was the McDonald's … of cosmetic surgery?" "One hundred per cent," Ms Montgomery said. "Everything was commercialised and driven to increase revenue­. It was a business."

The inquiry was told the Health Care Complaints Commission­ needed tougher powers to help victims of unsafe procedures.

 

Fresh Facebook photos of Amy Lee Rickhuss, who suffered a cardiac arrest after undergoing cosmetic breast surgery at the The Cosmetic Institute in Parramatta in January 2015.
Fresh Facebook photos of Amy Lee Rickhuss, who suffered a cardiac arrest after undergoing cosmetic breast surgery at the The Cosmetic Institute in Parramatta in January 2015.

 

 

 

Ms Montgomery, who set up a patient support group Trusted Surgeons, said the blame for botched operations was often put on patients, such as being told they didn't follow post-surgery instructions.

"When (patients) initially went to have a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon they were of the opinion the person was actually a surgeon," she said. "None of the surgeons I worked with were actually surgeons until close to the end when we had a thoracic surgeon."

It was noted the committee had made "repeated efforts" to contact people involved in The Cosmetic Institute but "they are refusing to participate … saying we don't exist any more".

The Cosmetic Institute. Picture: Julian Andrews
The Cosmetic Institute. Picture: Julian Andrews


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