Last month, the Voice described swanky Upper East Side plastic surgeon Brad Jacobs’s fight to save his career (“Plastic Surgeon to the Scars,” August 29).
After racking up a state-record 26 malpractice judgments or settlements over the course of eight years, Jacobs was targeted by the New York Department of Health, which suspended his license and initiated proceedings to revoke it indefinitely. This was a body blow to the famous boob doc, who performed breast-augmentation procedures on Playboy and Cosmopolitan models, drove a Porsche with the vanity plate “BUNNYMAKR,” and once held a press conference surrounded by buxom women to celebrate the return of silicone implants. But even as women claimed that he had butchered their bodies and performed surgery while high on speed, a determined Jacobs appealed the decision and vowed to see his good name restored.
“We certainly are well on our way to presenting a picture of Dr. Jacobs that is diametrically opposed to this handful of disgruntled patients,” said his lawyer, Michael Kelton, earlier this summer. “The case is going well—I will prevail!” Jacobs added.
But it was not to be. On September 13, Jacobs surrendered his license to practice medicine. A spokesman for the Department of Health announced that Jacobs “admits that he cannot successfully defend against the charges” of gross negligence, negligence and incompetence, and moral unfitness. The man who led one of the most fabulous careers in cosmetic surgery has retired to Long Island in disgrace.
“Dr. Jacobs came to realize that he could not get a fair hearing from the Department of Health,” said Kelton in a prepared statement. “Under increasingly dire financial circumstances. . . . Dr. Jacobs made the painful decision to end his nightmare and to begin the process of moving on with his life.”
Of the dozens of complaints against Jacobs, the case of Brittany Hendricks was easily the most sensational. Hendricks, a former Las Vegas stripper and crystal-meth addict, arrived in New York in 2004 to get a nose job. According to a deposition she prepared during her lawsuit, Jacobs set her up in an apartment near his office, where Hendricks, Jacobs, and the doctor’s girlfriend smoked crystal meth for hours the night before the surgery. As theVoice reported last month, Jacobs and his girlfriend allegedly had sex in front of Hendricks and, when they couldn’t get her to join in, allegedly asked her to videotape them. According to Hendricks’s deposition, Jacobs partied till 4:30 in the morning, caught a few hours of sleep, and did a quick hit of crystal meth before reporting to his office.
Later that day, Hendricks testified, Jacobs gave her a nose job that ultimately mutilated her and left one nostril permanently detached from her face. When she saw the work he had done, Hendricks went back to Jacobs’s apartment in despair, where Jacobs allegedly shot her full of drugs and then had sex with her. Jacobs has denied all of Hendricks’s charges and called her “a blithering drug addict.” But Hendricks’s accusations were clearly the centerpiece of the state’s case.
Although Jacobs’s career is over, the lawsuits are far from finished. At least five patients still have malpractice cases pending against him, including charges that he left a surgical sponge inside a woman’s breast, cut out healthy tissue during a lumpectomy but left the tumor behind, and deliberately inserted implants that were too large, seriously damaging the breasts of three women. Jacobs has denied the latter charge, but acknowledged that he missed the tumor and left some gauze in a patient’s breast. Meanwhile, in response to theVoice‘s initial story, Jacobs’s then girlfriend (now his wife) recently sent a letter to Hendricks and her lawyer, proclaiming her intent to sue for “libel, slander, and defamation of character.”
Last December, Jacobs was riding so high that he wrote an open letter to Britney Spears, offering free surgery to touch up her abdominal muscles. “My trained surgeon’s eye uncovered all the enduring effects of your recent C-section birthing experience,” Jacobs wrote. “Therefore, as one of your devoted fans who happens to be a leading plastic surgeon, I’d like to give you a holiday present—a tummy tuck that will restore your midriff. . . . I’d like to give ‘sexy’ back to you.”