Dying To Be Beautiful

An autopsy is scheduled today on Donda West, 58, mother and manager of hip-hop star Kanye West. She had cosmetic surgery on Friday, evidently breast and stomach reduction surgery. It was an 8-hour affair, and she went home afterwards instead of to a surgery center. She stopped breathing on Saturday and was rushed to a hospital in LA, where she died.

At least one physician, Dr. Aboolian, told the media that when she requested surgery by him some months ago, he declined because she had a pre-existing medical condition and didn’t have a doctor’s release for it.

Dr. Jan Adams, a well-known Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, whose surgery center sits above a Kinko’s and Quizno’s in LA, performed the surgery. He told TMZ that he “had done nothing wrong” and that Donda had likely died from a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or from massive vomiting post op.

Last night on Larry King, TMZ (a celebrity gossip and news TV show and website) reported that research on Dr. Adams revealed he is not board certified and that he has several DUIs, malpractice suits, and unpaid judgments against him. An ex-girlfriend of Dr. Adams claimed alcohol brings out the “Jekyll and Hyde” in him; she was granted a restraining order against him.

Why would a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman like Donda, who had everything to live for, risk everything? Because our society tells women that they can’t compete or be respected unless they don’t look a day over 49 or wear more than a size 10. The pressure for a woman like Donda, who was in the limelight, is intense.

What can we learn from this tragic story?

Check out your doctor. Look him over at least as carefully as you would a car you’re thinking of buying. Be sure he is board certified and that you feel comfortable with him. If he doesn’t require a medical release, get another doctor. Tell him everything – don’t hide anything. Get your primary care doctor’s opinion too.

Don’t combine too many procedures; the longer you’re under, the higher the risk for embolism and infection.

Ask yourself why you want the surgery: if it’s to repair a relationship or change your life, it would better to see a therapist or you’ll find that you are disappointed after the surgery.

Our hearts go out to Kanye and his family. Donda was warm, loving, bright and talented, and we will all miss her. But the tragedy of her death can be a wake-up call to a lot of women who might be contemplating similar risky surgery.

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