Earlier this year Omaha Magazine named Gerard J. Stanley Jr. one of the best cosmetic surgeons in the city.
But 15 women are now suing Stanley, the medical director at SCULPT Contemporary Cosmetic Surgery, for misrepresenting himself as a “board-certified” plastic and cosmetic surgeon. The lawsuits claim that Stanley “holds himself out to patients” as a qualified surgeon, despite allegedly not having completed the training for such board certification.
In the wake of the accusations, Stanley abruptly closed his practice for good last week.
Because of his alleged lack of training, the women claim he incorrectly performed cosmetic surgeries and procedures that left them excessively scarred, disfigured, and in pain.
Thomas Shomaker, a lawyer representing Stanley, told The Daily Beast that—despite what the lawsuits claim—his client is trained in cosmetic surgery and feels he treated the women correctly.
But Tom Gleason, a paralegal representing 14 of the women with the James Martin Davis Law Office, said the firm is still getting phone calls from new women coming forward about their alleged botched cosmetic surgeries.
Trish Riddle went to Stanley in 2015 for a breast augmentation and breast lift, which included liposuction on her stomach fat, which was to be added to her breasts, according to her suit. The surgery, she claims, left her stomach “saggy and gross” and she said the breast lift didn’t work and caused painful lumps and dying tissue in her breasts.
“It’s like he didn’t even do anything,” she told The Daily Beast. “It’s like I looked better walking in than walking out.”
Allison Rockey, a lawyer representing one of the women, told The Daily Beast that her client received breast implants, a tummy tuck, and a Brazilian butt lift that allegedly left her with unevenly distributed loose skin and severe capsulation in her breasts, where the breast tissue shrunk and tightened around the implant. Rockey said her law firm told the client to get second and third opinions from other plastic surgeons, who allegedly determined that the surgeries were done incorrectly.
“Our expert rated [the capsulation] on a scale of one to four, four being the worst, and she was at a four,” Rockey told The Daily Beast. “So she was in severe pain. It affected her daily life.”
Stanley is a board-certified doctor in family medicine, according to his website, but not by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is also not listed on the separate American Board of Cosmetic Surgery’s website as one of the three certified cosmetic surgeons in Omaha.
Doctors in the United States are not required by law to practice only within their specialized fields. When granted a medical license, doctors are given broad certification in both medicine and surgery.
“We have a doctor who is doing cosmetic surgery without the proper training or experience,” Gleason told The Daily Beast. “Because he didn’t know what he was doing we end up with patients who were horribly disfigured.”
Shomaker told The Daily Beast his client never represented himself as a plastic surgeon, and that surgery was part of his two-year family medicine residency.
The lawsuits claim, however, that the original 2012 articles of incorporation for Stanley’s clinic allegedly said it was organized “for the purpose of engaging in the practice of medicine and more particularly the practice of plastic surgery.”
Before it closed, the clinic’s website said Stanley spent a year training in cosmetic surgery after completing his residency and working for the National Health Service Corp for four years. To be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery a doctor has to train as a resident surgeon for at least six years, including at least three years devoted specifically to plastic surgery, according to the board’s website.
Gleason said the barrage of lawsuits began after women began posting poor reviews online about their plastic surgery experiences with Stanley. Nichole Dyer, another woman suing Stanley, wrote a review that Stanley “caused more damage than [she] had went in with.” Riddle told The Daily Beast that she reached out after seeing the post, which she said matched her own poor cosmetic surgery experience with Stanley. More women started coming forward after the initial lawsuits were filed.
“He was a nice guy but cosmetic surgery is not for him,” Riddle told The Daily Beast. “It was just a horrible experience, we look totally worse. It wasn’t even like a 5 percent improvement, it was totally, ‘you looked better before you walked through the door.’”
Gleason told The Daily Beast that many of the women had not come forward before because they blamed themselves.
The clinic’s website described Stanley as a widely respected cosmetic surgeon with patients coming from all over the world, as well as having been recognized by several publications. Omaha Magazine included him in its “Best Of” edition as the city’s best cosmetic surgeon, tummy tuck, and breast augmentation.
Shomaker, Stanley’s lawyer, told The Daily Beast that the women now suing were initially satisfied customers and understood the risks of the procedures they elected to get.
“When their lawyer gets on the TV and calls our guy a quack and he’s not qualified and he disfigured these people, it’s horrible, it’s terrible,” he said. “But it didn’t happen.”