LOS ANGELES (CN) - The producer of "The Doctors" TV show refused to schedule and pay for several surgeries, as they promised a woman for appearing on the show, the woman claims in court.
Loretta J. Brinkworth sued Stage 29 Productions on Dec. 30 in Superior Court.
"The Doctors" is a daytime talk show in which medical professionals discuss health and wellness topics. It is produced by "Dr. Phil" McGraw and his son, and is the first spinoff of a spinoff, the "Dr. Phil" show having been spun off from the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
"Guests of the show can ask questions of the doctors and other medical professionals, and some guests are selected to receive medical evaluation and treatment for their particular medical conditions," the complaint states. "The medical evaluations, treatment, and outcome are filmed and aired on the show."
Brinkworth says her daughter contacted the show about treatment for several lipomas on Brinkworth's legs, which she has suffered for more than 15 years and which make it hard for her to walk.
Lipomas are benign growths of fat cells between the muscle layer and skin. They can get bigger over time, and can "cause discomfort, infection, or decreased mobility, depending on their size and discomfort," according to the lawsuit.
Brinkworth claims one of the show's producers, identified only as Sutton, got in touch with her in mid-November 2013 and said Stage 29 was interested in having her appear as a guest on "The Doctors."
Sutton is not a party to the complaint.
During the taping of the episode, Brinkworth says, Dr. Ordon, the surgeon who evaluated her, circled all the lipomas with a black pen while saying, "We are going to remove this."
Though Ordon told her that it would take several surgeries to remove all the lipomas, he said she would be fully healed in six months.
Dr. Ordon is not a party to the complaint.
Ordon also told her that she may have lymphedema, "a condition of localized swelling and fluid retention that is caused by a compromised lymphatic system," and arranged an appointment with a specialist, the complaint states.
The specialist told Brinkworth that she needed to reduce the swelling in her legs before the surgeries and prescribed a leg-wrapping therapy, which she completed in January 2014, she says.
Almost four months later, Sutton called Brinkworth's daughter and told her that the surgeries were not covered by Brinkworth's Medicare insurance or her PPO, but promised that Stage 29 and "The Doctors" show would foot the bill, according to the complaint.
But on the day she was scheduled for her first surgery, Brinkworth claims, Dr. Ordon "abruptly refused to proceed with the surgery" though he had already prepped her and wheeled her into the operating room.
Ordon rescheduled the surgery several times and finally set it for May 21, but his assistant called Brinkworth the day before and told her that Ordon refused to do the surgery because she was "not a good candidate," the complaint states.
Brinkworth says Stage 29's refusal to find her a new doctor and its "broken promises" about the surgeries have caused her to suffer "great stress, despair, and emotional suffering, including ongoing depression, stress, anxiety attacks and difficulty sleeping, for which she has been receiving treatment."
Representatives for Stage 29 could not be reached for comment.
Brinkworth seeks punitive damages for intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Brian Grossman with Tesser, Ruttenberg & Grossman.
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