Beware of 'Experts' You See on TV

Here's a dirty little secret about the TV business. You know all those so-called experts that you see on television: the lawyer, the pundit, the former investigator, the doctor? Well just because they appear on TV does not make them the best in their industry, nor does it even mean that they are even good at their jobs.

They are on every channel from FOX to ABC to CNN, and they certainly appear on every syndicated TV show from "Oprah" to "Entertainment Tonight." If you are ever in legal trouble or need a doctor, think twice before hiring anyone that you first learn about on TV. Do not be impressed that they are being called upon as experts. Sure they know their field, but sometimes — not always — the best in the business stay far away from television cameras and the glare of the spotlight, which gets me to my point.

I decided to write about this after learning more about flashy plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams, who has been a guest on "Oprah" (at least four times), CNN Headline News, MSNBC, "The View" and many other channels and programs. He has not appeared on FNC.

Dr. Adams is charming, funny, handsome and, as we say in the business, "makes good TV." This is likely why he appeared on so many programs. Sometimes literally the best-qualified people are horrible on television. They may stammer or speak incoherently or perhaps they are just dull to watch. Sorry, folks, it is still a business and we have to put on people that you will want to watch.

Adams also courted the media. He has a snazzy Web site that features his best clips from TV shows. (He even appeared in a commercial for Chanel's Allure perfume.) He bills himself as a doctor who "works with Hollywood's elite." Perhaps this is what caused 58-year-old Donda West, the mother of hip-hop star Kanye West, to choose him for her tummy tuck and breast reduction.

After more than 5 hours of surgery, which medical experts say took longer than usual, West was sent home to recuperate. Plastic surgeons we spoke with said that "best care" scenario would've incorporated an overnight stay at a medical center. West stopped breathing and according to reports, someone dialed 911. When paramedics arrived, she was unconscious. She died at a nearby hospital.

Yesterday, the L.A. County coroner launched an investigation, yet a preliminary autopsy report concluded that she died as a result of surgery or anesthesia. Plastic surgery is not completely safe (no surgery is) and West had some pre-existing conditions, which made her a less than ideal candidate for serious multiple procedures. Months earlier, another doc had refused to perform these operations.

I'm not saying that Dr. Adams is a bad surgeon, though multiple DUI convictions, two malpractice settlements and a restraining order might make his professional judgment questionable. Also, in April the California Medical Board filed papers asking to suspend or revoke Adams’ medical license based on multiple DUI convictions. Rather my point is let the buyer beware when the dazzling professional you might want to hire is seen first on TV.

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