Dr. Milt Westing put all five family members to sleep for 16 hours in order to do the marathon operation in which he tried to even out the fat in the family.
“It was their choice. I never promised them anything,” the furious doctor said after he was notified of the lawsuit.
“It was elective surgery. They asked me to do it, and I did it. These people are totally crazy.”
Melonie Harast, 41, of Beltlink, Germany, and her daughter Jill, 19, were both more than sixty pounds overweight. Melonie’s husband, Jerome Harast, 44, has been skinny to an unhealthy degree his entire life. Their two sons, Ben, 17, and Clyde 14, were also dangerously frail.
Dr. Westing removed fat from the bellies, thighs, and buttocks of Melonie and Jill. He then applied it to the chests, arms, and legs of Jerome, Ben, and Clyde.
Unfortunately, within three months Melonie and Jill each gained back 80 pounds. The males in the family lost all the weight they had gained in the surgery, and then some.
“The surgery and recovery were very painful,” said Melonie Harast. “And now we’ve all got scars all over our bodies. We’ll have them for the rest of our lives.”
“But the emotional scars are the worst. It was humiliating to see all that fat come back on my daughter and I, and drop off my husband and boys. We all had dreams of having great bodies. Now, my husband’s ribs are showing, and I don’t have a single thing I can fit into. Our dreams are shattered.”
The Harasts say that Dr. Westing all but guaranteed them the surgery would be successful. The lawsuit states that the doctor “urged the family to have these operations for the sake of their health.”
“That doctor is a phony quack,” said Jerome Harast. “He’s out to make money, and he doesn’t care about people’s feelings. He should have his license taken away.
“This whole thing has nearly destroyed my daughter, Jill. All of her hopes of being thin have vanished, and she is awfully depressed.”
Dr. Westing has published numerous articles on fat transplants. Doctors consider him to be a pioneer in the field.
“The surgery only works if you watch what you eat afterwards,” Dr. Westing said. “It’s not always a permanent cure, and I never said it would be.”
The surgeon says that fat transplant surgery reduces the number of fat cells in the obese areas. However, the cells which are left are happy to swell and multiply, if they are given the chance. The opposite is true for fatty additions to the body.
“As long as the females in that family eat like pigs and the males refuse to eat, they will always be too fat and too skinny,” the doctor said.
“This is a classic example of a frustrated family. They’ve been taking it out on their bodies, and now they’re trying to take it out on me. I’ll fight this case to the end.”
Court observers expect the case to be a long and messy fight. Not only will there be testimony by expert witnesses in the fields of weight loss and surgery, but also by other people who have undergone fat transplants. People who have seen the Harast family eat are also expected to testify.