An Inspirational Story of a Plastic Surgeon and Breast Cancer Survivor

Without luck on her side, she relied on faith, family, and newfound angel, Dr. Paul Wigoda, MD.
Immerse yourself in this heart-wrenching true story of pain, loss, and triumph, an inspiring tale for anyone who has ever been affected either emotionally or physically by breast cancer. 

 

breast cancer survivor marcia beaird dr wigoda

 

In May of 2005, this breast cancer survivor underwent a routine plastic surgery procedure with a plastic surgeon in Miami, unaware of what would follow.  Forty-eight hours after the surgery, she was attacked by a flesh-eating bacteria which had spread to all of the areas she had her plastic surgery procedure. She was rushed to Broward Health suffering miserably, as over 60% of her skin was irreparably damaged; she was in agony, on the verge of death.

Dr. Paul Wigoda, MD was called to treat her. He emergently took her to the operating room, and had to remove most of her skin and fatty tissue in her trunk and thighs to remove the dead infected tissue and stop the infection from spreading further. Due to the massive infection which had spread to her bloodstream, her heart stopped twice during the operation but miraculously, she was brought back to life and survived the night. She was induced into a coma for three months during which time she underwent multiple surgeries to remove more skin and then replace it with skin grafts.  She then had to learn to walk all over again, while searching for a reason to go on, amid excruciating pain, significant deformities, and crushing medical debt.

Dr. Wigoda saved her life and supported her on a grueling path to normalcy. Unfortunately, her trauma wasn’t over, and he would have to save her again. Two years after her trauma, her breasts became enlarged, swollen and painful, from the steroid treatments she required to keep her going as her new skin adjusted.  To ease her pain, Dr. Wigoda scheduled her for a routine breast reduction, but to his dismay, found cancer during the surgery. Less than six weeks after hearing the new diagnosis, she underwent a double mastectomy, with Dr. Wigoda performing follow-up reconstruction.  She had walked a difficult path, losing most of her skin and both breasts, but by the end of 2008 she had new breasts in place and was cancer-free, having overcome every obstacle in her path.  

History tells us the most notable winners usually suffer heartbreaking obstacles before they find triumph.  They won because they refused to be discouraged by defeat and instead found courage, strength, and character.  – excerpt from her book

And she had many defeats!  

Here are words to live by:

We can choose every day which attitude we’ll use to embrace that day. We can’t change the past, the only thing we can do is play with the string we have and that’s our attitude. I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. So it is with you to always be in charge of your attitude no matter what comes to you.

Let this heroic woman’s true-life miracle of survival, faith, and inspiration be the reminder we need for this October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Let’s remind each other to:

  • Get frequent check-ups,
  • Research a trustworthy doctor,
  • Remember there are always bumps in the road,
  • But we can persevere with a strong balance of life, support, and positivity!

If you seek further guidance and a free plastic surgery consultation, contact Dr. Paul Wigoda today to learn more.

Follow Up: Dr. Wigoda’s Skin Graft Procedure Gives Woman A New Lease on Life

“He never stopped trying something. When everybody else was ready to give up, he didn’t,” said Marcia Beaird.

 

This is WPLG Local 10’s report on their Miracle Monday segment featuring Beaird’s recovery with Dr. Wigoda’s skin graft procedure that gave her a new lease on life. You can read the original story here.

 

 

It’s been nine long and trying years and more than $2 million spent since Beaird’s routine liposuction procedure left her with flesh-eating bacteria that consumed 80 percent of her body, eating through both muscle and fat.

 

Dr. Wigoda was on call in the Broward General ER the night Beaird was rushed into the emergency room. She was already in renal failure and her organs had shut down just 48 hours after her procedure.

 

“I thought she was going to die the first night I saw her,” said Dr. Wigoda.

 

Fortunately, that was not the case. Dr. Wigoda was able to remove layers of infected skin and fat while saving as much as possible for future grafting. However, Beaird was not out of the woods yet. For three months she was in an induced coma and family members were told daily that that day could be her last.

 

Dr. Wigoda was able to save Beaird, but the traumatic experience wasn’t over. She has undergone multiple reconstructive procedures including tissue expansion to rebuild the areas destroyed by the infection. Fighting together has allowed Dr. Wigoda and Beaird to accomplish an impossible feat.

 

“I find strength in my faith and in Dr. Wigoda,” said Beaird, “He’s been an angel to me in my darkest hours.”

 

Her attitude regarding her new lease on life and amazing transformation is so positive and inspiring. Even Dr. Wigoda, who has seen this miracle firsthand is in awe of her.

 

“It really takes a strong person to be able to go through what she has been through and for her to have the positive outlook she has is unbelievable. I don’t know if I would have that,” said Dr. Wigoda.

 

Today, we are pleased to announce that Beaird has been feeling well enough to go back to the career she had prior to this experience and has recently started working as a flight attendant.

 

You can see just how far Beaird has come since this first segment aired four years ago.

 

Social Media Influences Cosmetic Surgery, Florida TV Station Reports

Have you ever obsessed over an online photo update?

If so, you’re not alone. Cell phone cameras and social networking sites are blurring the boundaries of geography, communication, image and reality.

We’ve all have searched for the perfect image, but Facebook has sent some after more than just better photo angles.
In Miami, breast augmentation, liposuction, face lifts and other procedures aren’t out of the question, the local CBS affiliate reported last month.  The women interviewed said they wanted to look good online.
Dr. Paul Wigoda, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Medical Center, said people have always contacted him in conjunction with big life events, such as class reunions, at his private practice in South Florida. Cosmetic surgery, he emphasized, isn’t to be taken lightly, however.

“You can’t just walk into the office and say you’d like to look good for Facebook, or you have an important meeting on the horizon, and get a tummy tuck. Miami and South Florida are image-conscious places, but we won’t perform a procedure that isn’t well thought through for the patient. This must be something you’re absolutely sure about, and you must be a good surgical candidate.”
People today are documenting their lives more than ever, but many still aren’t comfortable with the way they look on-camera. How many times have you been tagged in a photo online and wondered, “Is that just a bad picture, or is that how everyone else actually sees me?”

Patients often report a boost in self-confidence from cosmetic surgery.  Miami CBS viewers were told by one patient that she underwent the procedures to coax out more “likes” on her Facebook wall. Another said she had family abroad, and she wanted them to see her in the best possible light. She also said knowing that ex-boyfriends have the ability to look her up online provided additional motivation to look her best.
Dr. Wigoda, who operates his own accredited Fort Lauderdale plastic surgery center, said he isn’t surprised to hear more people are interested in undergoing procedures. South Florida, where he grew up, is in one of the country’s most popular metropolitan areas for cosmetic procedures.

“People have always been invested in their appearance,” Dr. Wigoda said. “Self-confidence is incredibly important. But it is equally important to set realistic expectations and select the most qualified surgeon you can find.
“Check your doctor’s credentials. A number of South Florida physicians in practice were trained for a different specialty, so they only got a few hours of instruction. You want a board-certified plastic surgeon handling your surgery to minimize the risk of scarring and complications.”

Dr. Wigoda’s Patient Testimonial – Meeting by ‘Accident’ in ER Room

Darren is a long-time patient and friend of Dr. Wigoda. The two first met when Darren was admitted to Broward General’s trauma unit after being involved in a car accident. Dr. Wigoda performed plastic surgery to repair the eye and facial damage Darren suffered, which allowed Darren to return to his job as a commercial pilot. Years later, Dr. Wigoda came to the rescue again to help Darren with gynecomastia, which is abnormal mammary gland development in men. After undergoing cosmetic surgery to fix the problem, Darren is now free from the pain and embarrassment of gynecomastia and looks forward to returning to his active lifestyle.

 

Dear Doctor Wigoda,

I would first like to thank you for all that you have done. In October 2009, we met as strangers in the ER of Broward General’s trauma unit where I was rushed in as a trauma patient from a hospital that couldn’t handle my case. I was adamant about receiving the best surgeon at the hospital and was told that you would be coming on call in a few hours. The entire staff at Broward General held you in such high regard, and now I know why.

I arrived with a fractured cheek, a lacerated eyelid that had been torn from my face, a nose that was broken and mangled, and severe road rash covering my arms and face. I was ejected from my vehicle and dragged down I-595 approximately 30 yards. I was a complete mess.

I am a commercial pilot and my eyes are everything. You not only repaired my face and lacerations, but restored all normal function as well. Despite my numerous questions and the early hour you were called in, you had a huge smile on your face and turned my personal tragedy into a triumph of surgical professionalism.

In the days and months that followed, I regained the face that I recognized from before the accident, and I am still soaring through the sky thanks to you. My scarring is minimal, despite what the first initial hospital had predicted. I am so blessed and grateful that you were my surgeon. In the years that have followed, you have taken care of many of the people I care the most about in my life.

Whether it has been a breast augmentation, face lift, eye lid rejuvenation, or a nose job, you have surpassed everyone’s expectations and made a huge difference in their lives. Now, two years after meeting you, I have come to you again. This time for elective plastic surgery. I had a large mass in my chest (gynecomastia) and it was distorting my physique, very uncomfortable and awkward. After changing my diet, extensive exercise, and trying everything possible, I knew you could fix me up.

I came in to see you, and like you had done two years ago in the hospital, you greeted me with a big smile. You were full of options and understanding. You navigated around my demanding work schedule, and administered the best treatment available. I left my surgery with immediate satisfaction! I was in minimal pain, and up and about in record time. I am now looking forward to returning to the gym, beach and getting back to being myself again.

You are more than a physician, I think of you as my friend. You are honest, kind, professional, and the example of what a physician should be. Thank you for always being there, and doing everything with so much class. You are the best in the business!

Sincerely,

Darren

Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wigoda Saves Dog Bite Victim

Chief of Plastic Surgery Paul Wigoda, M.D. treated Davie teenager Nicole Periu when she was rushed into Broward General Medical Center with deep wounds covering her back and legs and one ankle nearly severed.

Walking along a wall, Periu was pulled off by a large dog grabbing her by the ankle.

“I was screaming, ‘Help, I’m going to die’,” she said.

“This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Wigoda, an award-winning plastic surgeon located in East Broward County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 368,000 dog bite victims are sent to hospital emergency rooms every year. The odds are three to one that the victim will be a child.

“A dog may not mean to hurt a child or their owner, they may just bite as a reaction, and the next thing you know, you’re talking about a permanent deformity,” said Wigoda, who was recently named Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Medical Center.

Tips to Remember if Attacked by a Dog
Local10 News put together a list of tips to help avoid dog bites and what to do if a dog attacks in honor of Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs May 16-23.

  • If a dog attacks, curl in a ball, protecting your head and face with your arms. “Fighting back will only increase the aggression,” said veterinarian Dr. Lisa Radosta. Dr. Wigoda agrees: “When a dog latches on to you, your instinct is to pull away, but that will only increase the risk of tearing, and that becomes very difficult to treat.”
  • If you are the victim of a dog bite, clean the wound and seek medical attention. “If the wound gets infected, you’re going to have a worse injury, worse scarring and worse pain,” said Wigoda.

To keep up with the latest plastic surgery news from Dr. Wigoda, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook!

Dr. Wigoda Named Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital

Board-certified plastic surgeon Paul Wigoda, M.D. to oversee plastic surgery operations at top Broward Hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Metro Ranking.

Fort Lauderdale, FL – May 6, 2011 – South Florida award-winning plastic surgeon Dr. Wigoda has had quite the eventful year so far – from hosting two health chats for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, to receiving an award for “Exemplary Wound and Ostomy Patient Care”, to his most recent distinction: being named Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital’s Adult and Pediatric Care Trauma Center.

The Trauma Center provides multidisciplinary care of the highest quality in Broward County, led by surgeons specialized in trauma and critical care. Along with the recent expansion of its Trauma Resuscitation Unit, the center boasts state of the art technology including a dedicated 64-slice CT scanner, portable x-ray and ultrasound with access to PACS, portable ventilators, central monitoring and a rooftop helipad with elevator to deliver patients directly into the trauma resuscitation rooms.

In addition to an in-house trauma surgeon and surgical intensivist available 24 hours a day, other specialty services are readily available, to include: Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Interventional Radiology, Pediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Urology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Pulmonary Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology.

Equally active on the social media sphere as in the OR, Dr. Wigoda makes it a priority to frequently reach out to current and potential patients via his South Florida Plastic Surgery and Beauty Blog, Twitter feed, an active Facebook fan page and YouTube Channel.

“Quite simply, I’m honored,” said the doctor, whose practice is based in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to work in such a state-of-the-art facility among the best doctors in the nation. Being named Chief of Plastic Surgery is a longtime dream of any plastic surgeon, and it’s both professionally and personally gratifying to be able to help so many people performing my life passion.”

About Dr. Wigoda
Dr. Paul Wigoda is an award-winning Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon, owner of The Aesthetics Institute and Chief of Plastic Surgery for Broward General Hospital. He is a board certified plastic surgeon and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Florida Medical Association, and the Broward County Medical Association. Dr. Wigoda specializes in Fort Lauderdale breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, liposuction, rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, facelift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, Botox, laser hair removal, and spider vein treatments.

Dr. Wigoda’s Ft Lauderdale Location:
1404 E Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
(954) 463-7088

About Broward Health
Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information, visit www.browardhealth.org.