“We must suffer for beauty” may be a reason for seeking plastic surgery in the first place, but in general we don’t expect to suffer more than routine pain.
Plastic surgery can certainly go wrong, leading to infections, pain, and disfigurement. Some people have even developed a morbid fascination with the results of plastic surgery gone wrong. There’s even a whole television show about it!
This is especially disturbing given the way the plastic surgery craze has grown among teenagers.
While the medical and insurance industries would love you to accept certain outcomes as merely the risks of seeking to be the most beautiful “you” that you can be, the truth is you do have recourse if your plastic surgery providers are negligent. While you can’t sue a doctor for giving you results that you don’t like, you can sue them for certain dangerous outcomes that cause material harm.
If successful, these lawsuits will pay medical expenses associated with correcting the problem, lost wages, pain and suffering damages.
Examples of Plastic Surgery Malpractice
Some of the cases that personal injury lawyers handle include:
- Infection cases
- Nerve damage
- Anesthesia complications
- Surgical mishaps, like sponges left inside the body
- Performing the wrong surgery
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
- Performing procedures without patient consent
- Surgical errors that lead to organ damage, deep vein thrombosis, or necrosis
- Surgical mistakes causing permanent disability
- Procedures performed by unlicensed or inexperienced surgeons
- Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia
- Persistent pain
- Failure to review medical history for contraindications
- Wrongful death when a patient bleeds to death after a botched surgery
Plastic surgery is, of course, plastic surgery. There are acceptable risks and different outcomes based on different bodies. Surgeons should inform patients of these risks. You’d be surprised how often they don’t, or how often they downplay the risks. For example, in one case where a woman was awarded $1.1 million for a botched reconstructive surgery after breast cancer, the surgeon told her that serious complications arose 1% to 2% of the time, when the number was a lot closer to 20%.
Nevertheless, you can still hold a surgeon accountable if they perform the procedure incorrectly or fail to meet the standard of care in a way that causes harm.
What about minimally invasive procedures?
Procedures offered at “medical spas” that have been labeled as “minimally invasive” are problematic. These can include injections, light therapy, lasers, peels, cryo freezing fat cells, and micro needling. Some also include “minimally invasive” liposuction.
Despite being billed as “minimally invasive” these procedures can lead to burnt skin, scarred skin, and other complications. We’ve even seen them cause second degree or third-degree burns. Minimally invasive does not mean risk-free.
While doctors often own the spas and provide the licenses needed to purchase the required devices, the actual procedures are often performed by technicians, not by medical professionals, not even by nurses or nurse practitioners. Some procedures, like laser hair removal, aren’t considered “medical procedures” under New York law, which can increase the risks for you.
This doesn’t mean you can’t sue for damages, but it does mean it wouldn’t be a medical malpractice suit, and that can create certain thorny legal challenges. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you sort them all out. The standard for negligence will be different in some of these cases and the insurance companies may have more grounds to raise comparative negligence arguments.
Proving Medical Malpractice
Most plastic surgery injury cases will require us to prove that your surgeon failed to meet a reasonable standard of care. Establishing the standard of care will usually require us to call in an expert witness, unless the mistake is so grievous that it speaks for itself. For example, a doctor doing the wrong procedure on the wrong body part tends to speak for itself, but most botched plastic surgery cases are a little less clear cut.
The standard of care is defined as “that degree of skill, care, knowledge, and attention ordinarily possessed and exercised by practitioners of the medical profession under like circumstances.” There’s certainly a lot of room for interpretation here, which is why the argument, negotiation, and litigation skill of your personal injury attorney is going to matter a great deal to the outcome of your case.
Get Help Today
There’s no way to determine whether you have a solid plastic surgery malpractice case by reading a blog post on the Internet.
These cases are complicate. They can turn on seemingly small issues. You won’t know until you set up a case review with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
The sooner you get us involved, the better. You have just 2 years to pursue a medical malpractice claim in New York. Waiting will not help your case.