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Dr. Jan Adams Walks Off Larry King After Threat To Yank License

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:18 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Major Medical, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

Medical Malpractice Complaint 

Filed against Dr. Adams June 26, 2007

In television they call it a "get."

Long-time talk show host, Larry King was actually on vacation with his family, but Dr. Jan Adams, the man who performed plastic surgery on Kanye West's mother, Donda, the day before she died, had agreed to be interviewed for an hour. This exclusive interview would be Dr. Adams' opportunity to answer speculation about what might have gone wrong during the 58-year-old West's surgery, his first extensive on-camera interview since her death November 10th. 

So King showed up at CNN's New York studios. He "mic'd" up.  It's three minutes until the 9 p.m. live show. Dr. Adams is still not on the set.  This is the time to get nervous. 

Then King got the word.  Dr. Adams had just received a letter from the West family and a fax to the CNN newsroom warning him NOT to appear on the Larry King program.

As King tap danced he explained that Dr. Adams and his lawyer were in the green room trying to decide whether the doctor should appear on air or not.  King said the family was threatening they would proceed with the state of California to have Dr. Adams' license revoked if he discussed the case.

The audience and King had to breath a sigh of relief when after eight minutes of "filler" with celebrity journalists brought in to augment the show, Dr. Adams appeared live on the set.

King no doubt would ask questions about not only the surgery but the speculation that has surrounded Adams since West's death.

It has been revealed that the Los Angeles area doctor is not board certified in plastic surgery, has had DUI's and a medical malpractice lawsuit.  It is also known that Donda West was having three procedures, a tummy tuck, breast reduction and liposuction, all at the same time, which would have required extensive anesthesia. 

And immediately after her death, another board certified plastic surgeon came forward and said West had approached him first about doing the surgery but he asked her to first get  medical clearance from her internist because of something that concerned him in her medical history.  That doctor never heard from West again.

But King got to ask none of those questions. Instead Dr. Adams said, 

     "What I really want to say is I want to thank you for this opportunity. Basically I had come here to [address] things in the press that aren’t accurate about me, but I have a tremendous respect for the West family. They don’t want me to go on. I have a side, they have a side and I am going to respect their wishes … I will not be on the show and address any of that. I am going to honor their wishes,” Adams told Larry King.

“Where does this go?” Larry then asked the doctor.

    “Well, I will talk with them. When they’re comfortable, then I will be comfortable. If they’re never comfortable, then I will never be comfortable,” he said. “They are what’s important to me, I’ve said that from the start.”

“Don’t you want to speak out?” Larry asked the doctor.

    “No I don’t want to,” Adams said as he fumbled with his ear piece, trying to remove it quickly so he could exit the set. The doctor who has done countless television interviews appearing as a celebrity doctor on Oprah, suddenly had nothing to say.

King says in 50 years in broadcasting no one has ever walked off the set during a live interview.  

The Los Angeles coroner has ruled preliminarily that West's death was likely due to surgical complications. An autopsy and toxicology report are yet to be completed which might reveal to what extent surgery or pain medication contributed to her death and whether pre-existing conditions should have been more carefully screened. 

Dr. Adams on Monday told the Los Angeles Times, West may have died of a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or accidental overdose of the painkiller Vicodin, which he prescribed after the surgery. He later contacted the Times to say he was speaking of a hypothetical patient.

Galina Espinoza of People magazine, a panelist on "Larry King Live," suggested Adams left the show out of respect for the family. "If the family reaches out to you about it you have to listen to that," she said.

Adams' lawyer, Alan Tenenbaum, confirmed the West family had requested Adams not appear on air. He looked uncomfortable and appeared at Dr. Adams urging it was later revealed.

King wondered if the doctor - patient privilege applies after a patient has died, a legal question to which Tenenbaum answered yes.  "It's not the doctor's privilege, it's the patient's privilege," he told King adding that the privilege extends to the family. " He doesn't want to create any dispute with the family," Tenenbaum added, and that until he gets clearance from the family, Dr. Adams will continue to keep quiet.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit or criminal gross negligence proceeding, anything you say for the record, particularly in a public forum, could and would be used against you. And there is no doubt that Dr. Adams is surrounded by lawyers these days, a fact confirmed by Tenenbaum.

King made the offer to Dr. Adams that he (King) would return from vacation a second night if the doctor decided to return. 

The Dr. Adams walkout occurred on Tuesday night, the same day as Donda West's funeral.


Anonymous User
Posted by Doug
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:12 AM EST

I am so sorry Mrs. West died. It's a terrible risk when you have any kind of surgery. As some people know, the Doctor/Surgeon isn't the only person participating in the operation. You may as well blame the entire Hospital. I plead with anyone to think long and hard before they have elective surgery.

Anonymous User
Posted by brad
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:31 AM EST

I could not care less that she died. Wow someone died? I am pretty sure that ppl die every day, maybe she should not have been such a vain person.

Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:39 AM EST

Please do a little reading. Donda West was the former chair of a university English department and had been in higher education for 31 years. She was helping her son's foundation, an educational non profit dedicated to decreasing dropout rates and improve literacy. She left academia three years ago to help her son run his many companies. They had by all accounts a most incredible bond that any mother would love to share with their child. Please do not judge someone who has accomplished so much and is not here to defend herself.

Anonymous User
Posted by M
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:53 AM EST

Wait until the facts come out before you judge. If she died due to negligence, ok. But people die after surgery, or even in surgery, and it is not necessarily the doctor's fault. Doctors don't have to be board certified. Many aren't. It's a professional accomplishment to be board certified, but if you aren't it doesn't mean you are an incompetent doctor.

And doctors get malpractice lawsuits all of the time. All you need to get a malpractice suit is a lawyer willing to sue. Especially in plastic surgery. Can you imagine the mental state of some of these people? You could have someone like Michael Jackson come in with entirely unrealistic expectations, and he files a malpractice suit.

I am suspending judgment of Dr. Adams.

Anonymous User
Posted by Michael Bettasso
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:54 AM EST

Another unnecessary surgery met with a very unfortunate event. All I can do is wish Kanye the best through this ordeal. But one needs to really ask the question why is it legal to have such surgery's performed. In my opinion the only option for surgery is in the case of emergency or birth defect. Either than that it should be outlawed and never practiced. Vanity kills....

Anonymous User
Posted by jules
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:01 AM EST

Still....she managed to become caught up in the hollywood craziness and it ultimatetly killed her. Had she not decided to hang out with and compare herself to those "plastic", self-absorbed types she would probably be alive today.

Anonymous User
Posted by mike
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:03 AM EST

Im sorry for his mother.

But you know what? S--t happens. People die every day from complications from surgery. Its not a fail safe thing to go under the knife. Why do people act so suprised when it happens? Are we just a bunch of babies? Sure its sad and tragic, but odds are that its gonna happen to someone sooner or later, so why the big fiasco?

Anonymous User
Posted by Mimi
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:04 AM EST

I would be willing to bet that the key factor in her death was a doctor who agreed to let her recover at home. To agree to let her do so after multiple major surgeries is medically irresponsible to put it quite mildly. Note that reports of her death in the hospital tend to leave out that she was at home when she started to bleed out, and was brought into the hospital in full arrest. Any issue leading to the bleeding are secondary - because if she was in a post-surgical intensive care unit under proper observation, these issues could have been addressed immediately (for example, a heart irregularity or a blood pressure drop).
I think that the doctor will be hard pressed to defend himself in this case.
Btw - according to all reports, Donda West was a high quality person, who did not deserve this to happen to her or her family.

Anonymous User
Posted by Eve
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:05 AM EST

I agree that people should wait before making snap judgments. What happened was tragic, but it is a possible outcome with any surgery.

As far as vanity...if what I heard is correct, she was having a breast reduction. Many reasons for this is medical, not vanity. Please people stop making snap judgments especially about the deceased.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ryan
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:12 AM EST


You would be surprised how many "normal" people get cosmetic surgery. It isn't about Hollywood crazyness either; for many people, getting cosmetic surgery boosts their self confidence and has real psychological benefits. For others, it's just a way to keep themselves competitive in their careers
- and it's not just limited to the entertainment business either.

Anonymous User
Posted by MH
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:21 AM EST

Kenye's mother is so lucky to have him as a son, having said that, she chose the wrong plastic surgeon to do her surgery.
having a tummy tuck n a breast reduction, perhaps one operation at a time with a renowned surgeon.

This fellow, Dr West, has a rap sheet, for all people considering surgery- check out their Doctors.

Anonymous User
Posted by vlad
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:28 AM EST

look if u gonna do sergery after docter says u should not, then its your own risk.But its sad
but nothin to lose sleep over.

Anonymous User
Posted by ABnorml
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:34 AM EST

My condolences to Kanye. He and many people owe much to his mother. Screw you mean hearted people but, the dangers of plastic surgery are well documented. Regardless of being on Oprah, someone should have checked this quack's references. Kanye doesn't need the money but I am sure he needs the closure so, you can BET this "doctor" is gonna catch a bad one!

Anonymous User
Posted by Duscany
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:38 AM EST

Dear M:

You are right that one or two malpractice suits doesn't mean a doctor is incompetent. But I sure do wonder about Dr. Adam's DUIs, unpaid taxes, and inability to get himself board certified. Even if you don't think board certification is important, Dr. Adams apparently did. Otherwise he wouldn't have told patients that he was certified. I also wonder why he did simultaneous multiple proceedures on a high risk patient. At least one doctor other had the good sense to turn her down. Why didn't Adams do so too?

Anonymous User
Posted by Shelley in Phoenix
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:55 AM EST

So many people here in Phoenix get cosmetic surgery. My daughter has young children and she said she would never even think about it due to the risks of the surgery. Her concern is what if something happened? Her children would not have a mother.

Her worst nightmare has come true with this situation.

Anonymous User
Posted by from a fellow doctor
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 8:53 AM EST

M, you are great! Thank you for pointing out such important ramifications. People don't realize that the human body can have several anatomical variations and that we are not appliances; sometimes things go wrong and there is no how or why or way to forsee these things. Anytime you undego surgey, whether elective or life saving, you run the risk of not waking up - this has nothing to do with the doctor's skill or method - unfortunately, it happens.

Anonymous User
Posted by Tasha
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:28 PM EST

I cannot believe some of the things that I am hearing...all of the negative comments...I mean this is someone's mother..This was a very succesful women...a single women who had a determined to make the best out of a bad situation. This lady loved her son so much...they had a bond that I only wish that I could someday have with my boys. My heart goes out to Kanye..not because of his status, but because he lost someone so dear to him, now that she is gone, he has no one...no sisters or brothers, no father...it's just him now. We go everyday in life making choices that we do not think of the consequences later, and unfortunately, this was one of them. I do not totally put the blame on the doctor, but I do say that he should have at least looked into her medical history, before performing surgery.

My heart goes out to Kanye....

Anonymous User
Posted by BAT
Saturday, November 24, 2007 9:13 PM EST

No need to judge anyone ...i.e. Ms.West or Dr.Adams. If it is his fault, so be it and may he suffer the consequences as I am sure he will. Ms.West had every right to have her surgery. Those who judge her (vanity) most likely suffer from what is called a big dose jealousy and nothing less. Stop judging either person. It just is not necessary. My prayers for both and their families.

Anonymous User
Posted by willie
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:08 PM EST

this is for brad,you are a selfish son fo a bitch and i hope you die you are most likely a trailer park redneck

Anonymous User
Posted by willie wright jr
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:10 PM EST

brad is more likely to be a redneck child molester

Anonymous User
Posted by willie wright
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:12 PM EST


Comments for this article are closed.

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