Dr. Jan Adams, through his spokesman Kevin Williams, confirmed for The Associated Press that he operated on Donda West, but would not say when and where the surgery was done, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.
"I first want to express my deepest condolences to the West family at a very difficult time," Adams said Tuesday in a statement read by Williams. "Out of respect for the West family and in the absence of other verifiable information, any comment from me without first discussing that information with the family would be unprofessional."
Adams, 53, told celebrity Web site TMZ.com that West's death was not caused by the surgery, but could have been caused by a heart attack, a pulmonary embolism or vomiting.
West, 58, died Saturday night at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Marina del Rey after she stopped breathing.
Adams, who is being investigated by the state medical board, has been the target of malpractice lawsuits and has paid out nearly $500,000 in civil settlements.
Bonita Hovey went to filed a malpractice lawsuit against Adams after he performed cosmetic surgery on her. She said Adams, who she saw speak at a symposium held by Black Women's Physicians in Los Angeles, never warned her about complications that might arise because of her diabetes.
"Within the second day of my surgery, I knew something was wrong," she told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "I had the surgery on a Monday and I saw him on Wednesday. And by that evening, I knew visually that something was wrong by 2 in the morning when my suction tubes were no longer working and my wound was opening."
She said she tried to call Adams that morning, and the two days following, but said no one returned her calls. She didn't see Adams again until the next Tuesday.
Other patients who sought treatment from Adams said they learned of him through TV, where he appeared as an expert guest on "Oprah," "The Other Half," CNN, "Entertainment Tonight," E!, ABC, NBC and "Extra." Adams, who had his own show on Discovery Health, also appeared in a TV advertisement for Chanel's Allure perfume, according to his Web site.
Adams also sells a line of skin care products, including a product that lightens skin, and has written two books on plastic surgery, including the 2000 title "Everything Women of Color Should Know About Plastic Surgery."
In 2001, two malpractice lawsuits against Adams ended in payouts of
$217,337 and $250,000, state medical records show. Further details were not disclosed.
Hovey's attorney Greg Thyberg is alleging that Adams committed fraud by claiming to be a board certified plastic surgeon. Hovey is also suing Adams for breach of contract.
"One of the issues is informed consent," Thyberg said. "Bonita is diabetic, and he should have warned her that she had a higher risk, being a diabetic, going into this type of surgery. Also, there was a problem with the follow-up care afterward. Basically, once they got Bonita's money, they really weren't all that interested in giving her the treatment when she started having complications."