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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 13:10 GMT


Star surgeon 'mocked patients'

Sylvester Stallone: Is mentioned in the allegations about Dr Hoefflin

A Hollywood plastic surgeon is alleged to have crudely mocked celebrity patients - including Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor - while they were under anesthetic.

Dr Steven Hoefflin is accused of fondling and photographing his patients while they were on the operating table and of cocaine use and tax fraud.

The allegations about the doctor are contained in papers deposited with a Los Angeles court. They relate to the testimony of four of his former assistants, which was taken as part of an investigation by the California Medical Board into the doctor.

The four assistants had originally sued the doctor for sexual harrassment, but settled out of court.

String of big-name clients

[ image: Michael Jackson: Was allegedly tricked into paying for non-existent surgery]
Michael Jackson: Was allegedly tricked into paying for non-existent surgery
Dr Hoefflin, 52, is a celebrity in his own right in Hollywood, with a string of big-name clients. He was a consultant on the film Doc Hollywood, starring Michael J Fox.

It is alleged Sylvester Stallone walked into the surgery when Dr Hoefflin was operating on his then girlfriend, Angie Everhart, and demanded she be given bigger breasts. He is said to have told the doctor he wanted them to be "big but perky, kinda like a 17-year-old", and the doctor complied against Everhart's wishes.

In papers lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court, former operating room co-ordinator Barbara Maywood alleges Michael Jackson - one of the doctor's best customers - was tricked into paying for surgery which didn't take place.

She testified: "On multiple occasions Mr Jackson would be anaesthetised and the clocks in the operating room would be turned ahead by hours. Mr Jackson would then be revived, look around the room, and settle back to sleep, at which time the clocks would be reset to reflect the correct time.

"This scheme gave Mr Jackson the perception that he had just undergone a nasal surgery of several hours, when in fact he was only unconscious for several minutes."

Ms Maywood also said Dr Hoefflin examined the singer's genitals on another occasion - when he was supposed to be operating on his face.

'Insulted Taylor and Johnson'

[ image: Elizabeth Taylor: Hoffman is said to have insulted her]
Elizabeth Taylor: Hoffman is said to have insulted her
She also alleged Dr Hoefflin sneered at 66-year-old screen legend Elizabeth Taylor - then married to Larry Fortensky, 20 years her junior - while he was operating on her. He is said to have commented: "What's a young guy doing with this old stuff?" She said he had stripped her naked - even though she was in for facial surgery.

Actor Don Johnson - then married to Bonfire of the Vanities star Melanie Griffith - came in for the same treatment, it is alleged. After having surgery on his eyelid and liposuction on his abdomen, Dr Hoefflin is said to have looked at his genitals and said: "Why would a beauty like Melanie Griffith settle for that?"

Ms Maywood said of Sylvester Stallone that he entered the operating theatre while Angie Everhart was under anaesthetic, and was ushered out for "not wearing proper surgical attire".

She said Ms Everhart - who starred in Another 9 ½ Weeks with Mickey Rourke - has insisted she wanted a small breast size as she "needed to maintain the lithe appearance that accounted for her success".

'Involved in tax dodge'

[ image: Melanie Griffith: Her then-husband Don Johnson is said to have been mocked]
Melanie Griffith: Her then-husband Don Johnson is said to have been mocked
But Stallone allegedly returned to the theatre to tell Dr Hoefflin to make her breasts bigger. Ms Everhart had a difficult recovery from the surgery, and four months later it was reversed. The couple later split.

Assistant Kim Moore-Mestas backed Ms Maywood's allegations - adding Dr Hoefflin would mislead patients into believing he would be carrying out all surgeries when junior assistants performed the operations.

Another assistant, Lydia Benjamin, said Dr Hoefflin would offer cash discounts to patients to avoid paying tax.

He is also alleged to have encouraged receptionist Donna Burton to have surgery so she could show off the results to customers.

She said: "I was used by Dr Hoefflin as a flesh and blood example of the female form. He required me to disrobe before potential breast implant patients and on multiple occasions their male companions. It was dehumanising and humiliating."

Dr Hoefflin has called the accusations "slanderous and inaccurate, to the point of being disgusting," and claims the allegations were invented by two former partners who were bitter about being sacked.

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