Surgeon left breast implant inside ill patient
An Italian plastic surgeon, who failed to remove breast implants from a patient who developed a serious post-operative infection in a Dublin clinic, was found guilty of professional misconduct last night.
Dr Marco Loiacona, who worked at the former Advanced Cosmetic Surgery clinic in Mount Merrion, Dublin, was before the Medical Council following a complaint by Catherine McCormack, who had a breast enlargement in 2006.
Ms McCormack (33), from Swords, developed a serious infection after the operation, which she said was performed within days of her first consultation at the clinic where she was offered a discount. Together with her sister, they paid €5,300 for two cosmetic operations with a discount of €600.
Dr Loiacona, who met the patient for the first time the day he operated on her, failed to remove the implant after she became ill after the operation.
Expert witness Peter Meagher, a plastic surgeon in St James's Hospital, Dublin, told the inquiry that nurses who examined Ms McCormack 19 days after her surgery found she had redness, discomfort on the side of the infection and a high temperature.
There are "cardinal signs" which needed to be urgently addressed by admitting the patient to hospital to remove the implant and give her intravenous antibiotics.
Instead, Dr Loiacona stitched up the wound even though her left breast was oozing fluid. He told the inquiry the infection was not severe and he gave her antibiotics believing he could salvage the implant.
However, her condition failed to improve and the implants had to be removed, forcing Ms McCormack to later have implants reinserted by another doctor in the Mater Hospital.
Mr Meagher said Dr Loiacona's post-operative care of the patient was "fundamentally flawed", adding "an infected prosthesis must be removed and covered with intravenous antibiotics. It's as simple as that."
Dr Loiacona told the inquiry he understood from the documents he received at the clinic that the patient had seen another surgeon for a consultation in mid-August and that the necessary "cooling-off" period was followed to allow her consider her decision to have surgery.
The Fitness to Practice Committee of the council found him guilty of six counts of misconduct and cleared him on six others.
Chairman Danny O'Hare said the sanction would be that he undertake a recognised training programme which would be vetted by the council. A report on the outcome of his training will also be sent to the council.
It was revealed during evidence that surgeons at the clinic were told they would get 8pc commission if they generated €25,000 worth of surgery business in a day. Dr Loiacona said he was not involved in this and would not approve of the practice. This was accepted by the inquiry.
It also emerged that Dr Loiacona was working in the Cosmedico clinic in Wicklow up to last November and operated on patients in the Slane Hospital, Kildare, up to July.
Cross-examined by solicitor for the council, JP McDowell, Dr Loiacona told the inquiry that he was now working in Italy and Brazil. But he was challenged to reveal how recently he had operated in Ireland after Mr McDowell said that as late as yesterday his name appeared on the websites of the two cosmetic surgery clinics.
It is also understood that Mr Loiacona recently appeared on TV3's 'Cosmetic Surgery Show', where he was filmed carrying out surgery.