Teri LaMarti's “tummy tuck” at the hands of Doctor Anthony Pignataro two decades ago was a surgery that changed her life forever.
“I've felt pain before [but] I had never felt pain like this in my life,” LaMarti told 7 Eyewitness News. “He knew he did something wrong.”
How else to explain what LaMarti describes as Pignataro's rush to get her out the door of his West Seneca office?
“He yelled at my husband for calling him,” LaMarti said of Pignataro. “[He said], ‘I told you it's not blood...it's just fluid. Don't be bothering me.’”
But as soon as she got home to South Buffalo, LaMarti said “blood is just pooling at my feet...like literally, a puddle of blood at my feet.”
Doctors at Mercy Hospital could not believe what they were seeing.
“I had one nurse on one side of my bed, one nurse on the other side...they pull everything down and they just both started crying,” LaMarti said. “My lawyer likened what he did to me, that it looked like I got attacked by a bear.”
Pignataro was barred from practicing at any hospital in Western New York -- and LaMarti soon came to find out why.
“Early Saturday morning, he shows up in my hospital room, flips on the light...and he starts screaming at me, [saying], ‘Get out of here...I told you you don't belong in the hospital’...and he has my chart and he discharged me,” she said. “And nurses and security guards came and bodily escorted him out of the hospital.”
LaMarti’s follow-up appointments were something she could only describe as “Doctor Frankensteinish.”
“He grabbed a staple-puller out of a [desk] drawer and pulled the staples out of my abdomen and then just threw it back in the drawer,” she said of Pignataro, who gave a general statement to 7 Eyewitness News about the original investigation but did not respond to a message seeking comment about this story.
LaMarti's account is backed by public records. This week, the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team revealed Pignataro's new efforts to get back into the healthcare field.
For LaMarti, it brought back memories of Pignataro's bizarre behavior when she was testifying against him two decades ago before a grand jury.
“This is what a sociopath he is,” she said of Pignataro. “He saw me and broke away from his attorneys and came to my side of the hall and tried to hug me and said, ‘Oh my God, Teri, look at you, you look amazing, I did such a good job.”
LaMarti would need 13 corrective surgeries to fix Pignataro’s work.