Cut & Run

He made millions sculpting the figures of Houston women while dodging one of the largest malpractice judgments in Texas history. But after botching another surgery, can Dr. Gerald Johnson continue to operate?

Fredricks, however, contends that it was the combination of the components, as well as how Johnson performed them, that made the procedure experimental and dangerous. "He neglected specifically to let [Charlotte] know," he testified at deposition, "that he intended for her to be an experimental animal in the procedure that he performed."

Charlotte's malpractice action only serves to further complicate Johnson's life, which, it seems, is still haunted by the June morning that Jill Newsome lapsed into a coma. In 1994, the IRS hit the surgeon with nearly $2 million in liens for unpaid taxes as far back as 1976. The surgeon was recently ordered into mediation in his 1993 lawsuit against MediCash, the company he helped set up 14 years ago for his stepdaughter, Rae Lynn. The case had been dismissed for lack of prosecution, but Johnson refiled it in March.

His amended complaint suggests that Johnson bears a few scars from his divorce. He has added June's name to the list of those he's suing in the MediCash lawsuit, as well as those of June's son, Michael Graham; her daughter, Elaine Martin; June's first husband, Ray Graham; and a man June was dating after Johnson moved out. Johnson is alleging that the "relationships between the defendants ... enabled them to steal, conceal, remove and dispose of" property owned by Johnson. The surgeon also has listed "Jane Doe 1-10 and John Doe 1-10," as defendants, in case more alleged co-conspirators are identified.

Meanwhile, Johnson has abandoned or lost any privileges he once had with local hospitals, and is performing surgery in his office's operating suite. In his deposition, Johnson testified that he has in fact continued to perform the endoscopic reduction mammoplasty in his office, even though he has no nurse anesthetist and is only using local anesthesia on his patients.

Last September, Johnson authored a chapter of a book on endoscopic techniques, based on his experiences with 130 or so bilateral endoscopic reduction mammoplasties. The surgeon has testified that before Charlotte's operation, he had performed the procedure seven to ten times. That means that, in the year after the bungled operation, Johnson performed more than 120 of the unusual mammoplasties. Of course, if he's performing them today, it's without medical malpractice insurance.

No one -- least of all Earl and Gail Newsome -- thinks that the lack of insurance will hurt Johnson's business. Nor will it keep him up nights.

"The man is devoid of morals or any type of humanity," says Earl Newsome. "If the man is making a million bucks a year, which is supposedly what he's doing, if that's what having that kind of money a year does to you, boy, I wouldn't trade it.

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