By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
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By Jon Campbell
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In addition, Jacobs has numerous lawsuits that have yet to be resolved. Andrew Rosenbaum has been handling one such case, in which a patient, who requested not to be named, came to Jacobs for a boob job in August 2004. According to Rosenbaum, the patient began to notice a disturbing mass in one of her breasts after the procedure, and worried that she might have breast cancer. The patient underwent uncomfortable and expensive scans to investigate the mass, but no one could figure out whether it was a tumor or not. She spent years with the fear of death gnawing at her. "After approximately two and a half years of suffering the discomfort and pain, the psychological fear and the worry, she had to have a risky procedure known as a needle biopsy," Rosenbaum says. When the doctors pulled the needle out of her breast, he adds, they pulled out a long string of gauze.
"[Jacobs] left a surgical sponge inside her left breast at the time he closed her up during the procedure," says Rosenbaum. His client sued Jacobs last November, and Rosenbaum claims that Jacobs has conceded liability. (John Rubin, Jacobs's attorney in that case, didn't return phone calls seeking comment.) But as it turns out, Jacobs has no malpractice insurance, so Rosenbaum's client may well get nothing for her terror and pain. "Not only did he perform incorrectly the procedurescarred herto add insult to injury, at this point he's refused to amicably resolve fairly and justly compensate my client," Rosenbaum concludes.
Jacobs's lawyer Kelton confirms that Jacobs practiced medicine without malpractice insurance, although this is not illegal. Jacobs acknowledged the incident, but said it was no big deal. "There was nothing crazy, just some gauze I left," he says. "We've made an offer. We made a reasonable offer regarding removal of that. It's just that her attorney is not negotiating in her best interest."
At least in that case, the breast cancer was just a scare. Attorney Mitchell Shapiro is suing Jacobs on behalf of a client who wasn't so lucky. Shapiro's client, who also requested not to be named, was about to visit Jacobs in July 2005 for a liposuction treatment when she had a routine mammogram with another doctor. The test revealed a lump that looked like breast cancer, and her doctor performed a core biopsy and sent it to a lab to make sure. The woman then called Jacobs to cancel the liposuction procedure.
But according to Shapiro, Jacobs didn't want her to do that. "So he says to her, 'No, let's keep the appointment. I don't think you have cancer. Come in, let me take a look. I've already got the time booked for you.' "
Shapiro claims that his client took her mammogram results in, and Jacobs told her the lump looked benign. But just to be safe, he removed tissue from her breast, telling her that he had removed the lump and sent the tissue to a pathology lab for testing. A few days later, the woman's core biopsy indicated that she had cancer. But Jacobs's lab reported that she was healthy, with no cancer at all. How was that possible?
"[Jacobs] missed the lump and sent healthy tissue to the lab," Shapiro says. "He did a lumpectomy of healthy tissue, so naturally his lab comes back negative. . . . So now she realizes that she has to go to a breast surgeon who specializes in cancer. He looks at her breast and said, 'What happened?' She tells him, and he says, 'Jacobs should never have touched you. He's not qualified to do that.' "
Shapiro claims that Jacobs cut such a huge divot out of his client's breast that by the time the surgeons removed the cancer, there was practically no breast left; she had to have a full mastectomy. But that's not what infuriates Shapiro. "If she didn't have that core biopsy and had just believed Jacobs, she would have done nothing, and it would have spread all over the place and killed her," he says. "What he did was just make her whole experience so tortured. To be told that she didn't have cancer, and then be told that he's wrongit's just disgusting."
John Rubin was also Jacobs's attorney in this case, and he didn't return phone calls seeking comment. Again, Jacobs says, the case was inconsequential. "I've done hundreds of breast biopsies throughout the years," he said. "I went in the same spot [where the mammogram showed a lump], took tissue that felt suspicious. They don't put a label on it. . . . I didn't claim I got the mass. It's OK to miss, as long as you say you missed." As for Shapiro's claim that the lumpectomy precipitated his client's mastectomy, Jacobs scoffs: "The amount of tissue I took was less than a dime, all right? So they're blowing things a little out of proportion here."
Beginning in 2003, Jacobs's malpractice caseload suddenly spiked, and his lawyers were handling between three and seven lawsuits a year. In 2006, three women sued the doctor for allegedly jamming oversized implants into their breasts without their knowledgeimplants so large, the New York Post reported, that they would "eat away" at the areola, indent the nipples, or deform the sides of the breasts. Jacobs has denied these allegations and continues to fight them in court. That same year, a stripper from Las Vegas would file the most sensational lawsuit of alland her allegations would become the centerpiece of the hearing that may cost Jacobs his career.