Cosmetic Surgery Tragedy

May 8, 2008 8:45:01 PM PDT
With the growing number of Californians getting cosmetic surgery, state lawmakers may take steps to protect people from a nip-and-tuck tragedy. It's the result of the death of hip-hop star Kanye West's mother.

"They were just so devastated," said Assm. Wilmer Amina Carter (D) Rialto.

Yolanda Anderson, hip-hop star Kanye West's cousin, is on a mission to prevent other California families from going through their tragedy.

Her aunt, Donda West, Kanye's mother, died after cosmetic surgery last year. Her first choice for a surgeon refused to perform the procedure saying it wouldn't be safe because of a pre-existing condition. So she found another doctor who would, a practice known as "doctor shopping."

"A lot of patients do. So if the requirement is there that all doctors have to do the physical, it doesn't matter if they go shopping. They still will be required to do the physical," said Carter.

Carter chose the West family's idea after they entered her 'It Ought To Be A Law' contest. The Southland Democrat is readying for a floor debate next week to push it, even though serious complications from plastic surgery are rare -- only one in nearly 59,000.

"The possibilities of people having this kind of surgery and having tragic results are many in the United States," said Carter.

The autopsy on Donda West revealed she had coronary artery disease.

A physical exam before surgery is already standard practice for most doctors, like State Sen. Sam Aanestad, who's also an oral surgeon.

"How do I know what the patient's risk assessment might be? How can I counsel them to have surgery unless I know what their physical condition is," said Aanestad.

Aanestad is likely to vote for the proposed Donda West law, giving it bi-partisan support.

Even the California Medical Association is surprised the requirement isn't already on the books and wants it passed. There's no opposition on record.

The West family believes in this proposal so much they are working to get it passed in several other states.


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