DALLAS — There is a big smile on Sue MarDock's face in the "before" picture taken in a dermatologist's office.
In the photos taken in the days, weeks, and months after, MarDock's smile clearly faded.
After a cosmetic procedure she thought would be non-invasive and relatively painless, she was left with multiple scars all over her face. She does a good job hiding some of them with makeup, but she is scarred on the inside, too.
"I always took pride in the way I looked," she said with tears in her eyes. "I feel ten years older, look ten years older. It doesn't matter what I do now. I don't look like I used to."
MarDock, a 57-year-old mother of eight and grandmother of three, said she was offered a free treatment in Dr. Adean Kingston's Dallas office in January.
"I would have never sought out this procedure," MarDock said. "Dr. Kingston's office contacted me and told me that this was a relatively simple, routine procedure and that after a week, I'd look better and younger, so I thought, 'Why not?'"
MarDock's attorney said Kingston offered the procedure to MarDock at no cost because the dermatologist was trying to decide if she wanted to invest in the Fractora system for her office.
According to the manufacturer's website, Fractora is a radio-frequency anti-aging treatment.
MarDock said a sales representative for Fractora was in the office with Dr. Kingston and a nurse during her procedure. MarDock said she heard that salesperson telling Kingston to use a lot of pressure and turn the frequency to a high setting.
She said she heard Kingston question his orders, but still follow them.
"It hurt a lot, even though I was very numbed," MarDock said.
She was severely swollen and what appeared to be deep, dark red burns and scratches were all across her face for several weeks. Soon, the scratches turned to scars.
"It looks like claw marks on my face there," she said, pointing to her right cheek. "I have scars on my lips that make me look like I'm a smoker, and I've never smoked. There are a bunch of scars on my chin.
"And I've been told they are permanent scars," she added.
MarDock filed suit against Kingston, a nurse, the sales rep, and Invasix Inc., which manufactures Fractora.
"The doctor and the company agree something went terribly wrong here and somebody is at fault. But now they're pointing the finger at each other," said MarDock's attorney, Amy Davis.
"This injury is particularly harmful, because it effects Sue's self esteem. And that's an injury we can't see from the outside," Davis added.
MarDock said she doesn't feel or look like herself.
"My kids tell me I look like I'm all shriveled up now," she said.
The Texas Medical Board's records for Dr. Kingston show she's licensed and has had no disciplinary action taken against her. News 8 made two attempts to reach her by phone and also sent an e-mail to her office, but she did not respond.
News 8 also contacted Invasix, the company that produces Factora. They did not respond to our request for comment about the lawsuit.
Because of limits on medical malpractice suits, MarDock wouldn't be eligible for more than $250,000 if she wins this court battle.
While the scarring has improved, she knows it will never be the same.
"It doesn't matter what I do now," she said. "I don't look like I used to."