Studio City woman shares warning after surgeon allegedly botched chest surgery

"If I could stop one person from having this happen to them, then I’d feel like I can make meaning out of what happened to me," says Wendy Knecht. 

The Studio City resident had a horrifying experience after a double mastectomy. 

"It felt like I had bowling balls hanging off my chest, it was incredible," Knecht said. 

Knecht alleges her surgeon never told her he was implanting a medical device that had not been approved by the FDA for breast reconstruction surgery. 

"Unbeknownst to us, he had been doing trials, clinical trials with this product that hadn't been actually cleared for breast reconstruction surgery. You could say that I was basically a guinea pig," she said. 

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As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, Knecht later discovered her surgeon had been paid nearly half a million dollars in a three-year period by the same company that developed the device that ended up exploding inside her body.

Knecht says, "I didn't know that the device was experimental or that it was something that the doctor was being paid for."

Knecht sued the doctor and the case was settled for a million dollars. 

But she says, "We settled the lawsuit, there was money, but then it made me realize, nothing's changed."

Knecht turned to state legislator Adrin Nazarian who represents the San Fernando Valley. He says, "It's important for the public to know what their surgeon or physician has received." 

Assemblymember Nazarian introduced AB 1278.  If it passes, it will require doctors to notify their patients every year of the Open Payment database which details the amounts received by doctors from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. 

Nazarian says, "This is just a sunshine bill that allows for greater information for everyone to be aware of what the financial relationships are between surgeons and various drug and equipment manufacturing companies." 

AB 1278 has been approved by the state assembly. It has to pass two committees before it heads to the Senate floor. 

Knecht is hopeful it’ll pass. She says, "You have the right to know all the information before you make a decision about your health."