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David Ostad: NYC’s Butcher of Boob Street

New York- They call him “The Butcher.”

The former patients of swanky Park Avenue plastic surgeon Dr. David Ostad accuse him of leaving a bloody trail of botched boob jobs, mangled tummy tucks and bungled butt enhancements – and allegedly causing the death of a young woman who had a breast reduction, according to plaintiffs and court records.

Ostad, who bragged of being “New York’s premier plastic surgeon” when he set up shop in 2000 in Manhattan and on Long Island, is accused of malpractice in a dozen active lawsuits filed since 2002.

These patients dreamed of being beautiful – but now claim they were nightmarishly maimed. Some were left with missing chunks of flesh, misshapen breasts, disfigured arms or legs, facial lumps and emotional scars that will likely never heal, according to lawsuits.

“This guy is scary,” said David Dean, a lawyer with Sullivan Papain who won a $3.25 million verdict against Ostad in December in a 13th malpractice case. The suit was settled Monday for $1 million – the limit of Ostad’s insurance coverage.

“It was ghastly treatment,” Dean said.

His client, Fariba, a 40-year-old Roslyn, L.I., mother who asked that her last name not be used, went to Ostad in 2000 for a breast and thigh procedure. When she wasn’t satisfied with the thigh liposuction, Ostad agreed to operate again in 2001.

Without Fariba knowing, the doctor let a salesman from a liposuction-machine company attend the surgery. The sales rep provided “technical assistance” in preparing the power instrument before the operation, the doctor testified at trial.

The operation, which was supposed to take two hours, dragged on all day. At one point, Ostad emerged from the operating room with blood on his apron. Fariba’s husband, Joseph, said the doctor told him to go “take a walk” on Fifth Avenue.

Ten hours after she arrived, Joseph said his wife looked blue in the lips and ghostly. He had wanted to take his wife to the hospital, but Ostad insisted she was OK.

He said Ostad had to carry Fariba to the car and then followed them to their Long Island home. Fariba remained seriously ill but during a house call, Ostad told her only to consume Gatorade and red meat, Joseph said.

Days later, Fariba collapsed and was rushed to an intensive-care unit, almost dead from what Ostad later admitted were “catastrophically” low levels of oxygen in the blood.

“The bastard – during the operation he poked in her artery and sucked all the blood out,” Joseph said. His wife received an emergency 4 quarts of blood – “enough to paint a room,” he said.

Later, she also got a $10,000 bill from Ostad.

Fariba said she now suffers from nerve damage and is missing “chunks” of flesh on her scarred legs.

“He shouldn’t practice; I almost died,” said Fariba.

“We refer to him as ‘the butcher’ in this house,” said Joseph.

Fariba is not alone. Former patients lining up against the doctor include:

* A 47-year-old Bronx woman who accuses him of severing a vein in her leg during a butt enhancement in June 2002. The woman said she was hospitalized for eight days after the doctor failed to treat an infection she developed after the surgery.

* A 37-year-old Queens dance instructor who accuses the doctor of botching an implant surgery that left her breasts uneven and in varying positions.

* A 45-year-old woman who claims Ostad screwed up her nose job, leaving her with an “acorn”-shaped bump between her eyes – a spot the woman says the doctor should never have even touched. The woman also says Ostad shouldn’t have operated on her because her blood work showed she was pregnant.

Disturbingly, some of the malpractice allegations against Ostad came after Fariba and her husband complained to state health authorities in December 2001. That month they were told the matter was under investigation, but recently heard from the agency that an attorney was not assigned to the case until last November – almost three years after the complaint was filed.

“I don’t believe the system should work that slow,” Joseph said. “In the meantime, he could be killing someone.”

The Health Department said it is bound by law not to comment on any investigation. A spokesman said the agency also cannot tell patients if their doctor is being probed or how many complaints the doctor faces.

The mother of Nicole Salters, who alleges in a lawsuit that her daughter died last May from complications arising from a breast reduction, said her child “probably would not have gone” to Ostad if she had known about a state investigation.

Ostad’s co-defendants in the Salters case include the anesthesiologist who treated Nicole, said family lawyer Mark Bodner.

Ostad declined comment for this story. Daniel Doman, one of a chain of lawyers handling his malpractice cases, called the “butcher” label “ridiculous.”

“He has had one case that has settled . . . and no other findings against him,” Doman said. “It’s very simple to bring a lawsuit . . . anyone can talk off the top of their heads and say whatever they please.”

On average, plastic surgeons face a legal action once every 21/2 years, said Neal Reisman, a Houston doctor and lawyer who serves on the liability committee of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Reisman, who doesn’t know Ostad, said that the 13 cases represents “a huge number of lawsuits for a short period of time.”

Soshana Bookson, president of New York’s trial lawyers association, called the number of lawsuits against the 38-year-old doctor “extraordinarily high and astounding . . . it sounds like a record.”

Ostad, an NYU medical-school graduate, comes from an Iranian Jewish family. His father is a doctor, and his wife works in his office. Ostad advertised for patients on diner menus and in phone books – both in Spanish and English – and in the New York Post.

For a while, his Web site falsely claimed that he was “board-certified” – meaning he had completed rigorous training requirements for plastic surgeons and passed written and oral exams. In court, he testified that the claim was “an error.”

While his patients include working-class immigrant women, social workers and a teacher’s aide, Ostad – who lives in an Old Westbury, L.I., mansion – fancies himself a surgeon to the stars in ads and interviews.

An article on a Web site called drostad.com offers Ostad’s recommendations for last-minute cosmetic surgery before the Oscars.

In a 2002 interview about his cosmetic foot-surgery practice, Ostad said his patients “are not Jane down the street. They’re people who are jet-setters, for whom any season of the year can be summer . . . models and actresses.”

And a series of odd, anonymous Internet postings describe sightings of Ostad – referred to as a “famous plastic surgeon” – at Le Cirque with Cher one night and with Cher and Paris Hilton another evening.

The celebs’ representatives said they had never heard of Ostad.

According to a 2003 Asian Wall Street Journal story, the doctor maintains a rigorous beauty regimen that includes sleeping on his back to avoid pressure on his face and spritzing himself with spring water throughout the day.

One lawyer said that he arrived for one court deposition behind the wheel of a champagne-colored Porsche.

Despite his fancy image, Ostad’s office on Park Avenue – which he rents from other doctors – looks shabby, with mismatched chairs, plastic flowers and a giant, bland Oriental rug.

His patients, like Fariba, go there to find beauty. Now, she said, “I look like a 90-year-old woman.”

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