Eighties pop star Pete Burns could receive as much as £1million in damages after a plastic surgeon admitted botching cosmetic surgery on his lips.
The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant claims the treatment ‘wrecked his career and life’ and that he suffered such painful side effects from the operation, including terrible swelling and blisters, that he could not eat, drink or speak.
He claims he was left with weeping sores, felt suicidal and looked so ‘physically repulsive’ he could not leave the house for seven months.
Over the past four years he has undergone more than 100 operations by specialists in Italy in an attempt to correct the damage, but said he fears he will always be disfigured.
The botched treatment was carried out by Dr Maurizio Viel, Harley Street plastic surgeon, whose lawyers admitted liability at a recent hearing at London’s High Court.
Mr Burns lawyers claim the pro-collagen filler Outline was repeatedly injected at the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery between 2000 and 2004 without testing for adverse reactions to other medications and that Dr Viel failed to warn Mr Burns adequately of the possible side effects.
Mr Burns, 49, has said: ‘It has taken away my life and my career. I saw doctors in London who said the only option was to amputate my lips. I was suicidal.’
His barrister, Harriet Jerram, told the High Court that aside from the physical and psychological damage, Burns also suffered financial losses because he had to sell his music back catalogue as he was unable to work.
He claims his career would have been at its peak if not for the botched surgery, as he was about to record with the Pet Shop Boys and pursue a number of solo projects as well as launch a greatest hits album.
Dr Viel is also accused of administering an ‘excessive’ number of follow-up injections, contrary to the guidance given on the use of Outline.
Miss Jerram told the High Court that after taking expert advice, Dr Viel’s lawyers admitted liability in relation to the administration of Outline. But she added that there remains an issue over whether the treatment was only ‘partially responsible’ for the pop star’s suffering.
Dr Viel also faces negligence allegations in relation to an ‘upper lip lift’ procedure on Mr Burns in February 2004 – which the singer said left him looking as if he had been ‘mutilated with a Stanley knife’.
The star’s lawyer argued that there had been a ‘lack of informed consent’ to the procedure and claimed it was carried out ‘when the defendant knew, or ought to have known, it was not in the claimant’s best interests’.
Those issues, along with the exact value of Mr Burns’s claim, will be decided at a High Court hearing next March.
Last night representatives for Dr Viel declined to comment.