SEATTLE – August 4, 2023 – Bergman Oslund Udo Little (BOUL), a Pacific Northwest law firm with a focus on catastrophic injury cases, secured a $13 million verdict against Dr. Kristine Brecht and Aesthetic Rejuvenation & Spa on behalf of their clients, a former patient and her husband. Dr. Brecht, whose license has been suspended by the Washington Medical Commission, performed numerous cosmetic surgeries without screening the patient, who was a poor candidate and suffered devasting injuries.
In a lawsuit filed on July 11, 2022, in the Superior Court of Washington, the patient accused Dr. Brecht and Aesthetic Rejuvenation & Spa of performing two-days of surgery without the necessary training or skills and without disclosing the risks. Of particular concern was Dr. Brecht’s use of “Cinderella Anesthesia,” a dangerous make-shift alternative to general anesthesia that the doctor created using a combination of prescription drugs, including Oxycodone and Lorazepam, which caused memory loss. The doctor used handcuffs and weights to restrain patients during surgery.
Dr. Brecht advertised herself as being trained in plastic surgery and board certified, but has never been eligible for board certification in any surgical specialty and no other physician could vouch for the use of “Cinderella Anesthesia.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that the medical profession is largely self-regulated, which makes it really hard for patients to figure out if their doctors are properly trained and competent until it is too late,” said Ruby Aliment, lead counsel for the plaintiffs and an attorney with BOUL.
The jury awarded the patient $5 million for past damages, and $6 million for future losses. The jury also awarded $2 million to her husband for loss of consortium, and $34,186 for the plaintiffs’ consumer fraud claim, bringing the total to $13,034,186.
“This verdict sends a clear message to doctors who put ego and greed over patient safety: you will be held accountable for your actions,” said Vanessa Firnhaber Oslund, a partner with BOUL who tried the case with Ms. Aliment. “This case serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of transparency and utmost care in cosmetic surgery to safeguard the best interests of patients.”
The trial team from BOUL was led by attorneys Ruby Aliment and Vanessa Firnhaber Oslund, with trial technician support from Nick Fagan.
Over the course of two days, Dr. Brecht performed a full-tummy tuck, arm-lift, breast-lift, and liposuction in nine different areas. The patient was a poorly-controlled diabetic, but rather than advise her of the risks of skin necrosis – or tissue death – facing diabetics, Dr. Brecht convinced the patient the surgeries would improve her diabetic condition. The doctor also failed to adequately advise the patient she needed to quit smoking cigarettes to ensure proper healing.
When performing the tummy tuck and arm lift, which called for the removal of skin tissue, there was evidence that Dr. Brecht failed to properly evaluate how much skin and tissue she could remove, causing her to cut off too much skin, which made it difficult for her to close the incision. The excessive tension on the closures further worsened the patient’s scarring and wound healing difficulties according to Plaintiffs’ experts. Adding to the patient’s healing difficulties, the doctor failed to timely address surgical site infections or use appropriate post-operative care treatments.
When the patient started to raise concerns about how she was healing and how the surgeries had gone, Dr. Brecht told her the surgeries were executed perfectly and that the patient’s “unique” skin and “innate” healing issues had negated the effects of her good care. Despite these reassurances, the patient’s determination to seek answers led her to take legal action against Dr. Brecht.
About Bergman Oslund Udo Little
The Seattle-based law firm of Bergman Oslund Udo Little (BOUL) has fought for justice for people harmed by negligence for more than 25 years. Largely serving clients who live or have worked in Washington and Oregon, BOUL is active in courts throughout this region, recovering millions of dollars for its clients. Recently, BOUL secured jury verdicts of $11.2 million, $10 million, and $30 million for injury victims in Washington and Oregon.