Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D., is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He practices at The Plastic Surgery Center.
As a physician who helps a lot of breast cancer patients restore their bodies after mastectomies, I am particularly aware of the emotional toil, not to mention the physical trauma, suffered by people with this awful disease.
Therefore, I was especially disturbed to see a story reported by CBS News about a woman in Phoenix who had undergone a cosmetic breast augmentation, which is fine. It was how she went about it that's alarming.
Jami Lynn Toler, 27, apparently decided she needed the surgery so badly that she concocted a way to raise money for the surgery by telling people, including her mother and grandmother, that she had breast cancer.
She organized fundraisers under the guise of needing a double mastectomy and reconstruction for her "cancer" because she was uninsured and couldn’t afford the surgery on her own. She was able to raise more than enough money to pay cash for her plastic surgery.
She soon found out that crime doesn’t pay when her scam was uncovered and she pleaded guilty to theft in a plea agreement in court. Medical records confirmed she did not have breast cancer. She was sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation.
If she only knew the real suffering of those with breast cancer, she might have thought twice about her deplorable scheme.
As an aside, for those who want to raise money for breast augmentation, there are websites in which prospective patients can receive donations to fund their surgery. I don’t know specifically what is involved so you’ll have to research it for yourself, but at least it doesn’t rely on criminal behavior.