A former cast member of E!'s Dr. 90210 defended herself Monday against a lawsuit filed by a fitness instructor who alleges the physician botched a breast implant job.
Dr. Linda Li told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing evidence in the medical malpractice trial that she did all she could for plaintiff Jeanine Del Carlo, who complained about the September 2010 surgery at Li's Beverly Hills office that she had open wounds and scarring.
Li also denied Del Carlo's allegations that she ultimately told her to stop coming to her office.
"I never discharged her or told her not to come back," Li said.
Li added she would have accommodated Del Carlo by coming in on her day off if necessary.
"I have come in at 2 a.m. in the morning to see patients," Li said.
Del Carlo, also a model, sued in December 2011, maintaining that Li's negligence delayed healing and caused permanent disfigurement, pain and emotional distress. Del Carlo also contends she lost work and a chance to make tens of thousands of dollars.
Del Carlo had a breast lift in 2004, then sought help from Li six years later when the left implant ruptured, according to her court papers. Li replaced both implants, and Del Carlo followed all the doctor's instructions, the plaintiff's court papers state.
Del Carlo maintains she started having problems less than a month later, and that Li was generally indifferent during office visits in an eight-month period after her surgery.
Del Carlo maintains that Li should have asked her permission before suturing her persistent wounds with nylon stitches that required a doctor's removal, rather than the type that dissolve by themselves.
Li testified the stitching decision was up to her and her professional judgment.
"I don't discuss the use of sutures with my patients," Li said.
The doctor said Del Carlo seemed more concerned about the appearance of the nylon stitches rather than any health concerns.
"She was in a panic, refusing to leave, blabbing and sobbing," Li said.
Li said she was well-trained as a wound specialist after spending five years at County-USC Medical Center before opening her plastic surgery practice.
"This was at the height of the gang warfare and they were constantly shooting each other," Li said. "All the scrubs were soaked in blood and there was no time to change. It's remarkable what terrible things people can do to each other. No TV production can demonstrate something like this."
Li said she tried to help Del Carlo by giving her antibiotics and advising her to shower with her back to the nozzle to keep her wounds dry.
Dr. 90210 aired from 2004-08 and focused on doctors like Li practicing plastic surgery in Beverly Hills. Li's website states she also has appeared on The View, The Montel Williams Show and on CNN's Larry King Live.