What is Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice – Cosmetic surgery is performed for a number of reasons, ranging from voluntary alterations, breast augmentations, elective liposuction, tummy tucks, and corrective procedures to fix disfigurements or scars. While cosmetic surgery does not come with a guarantee of perfection, most patients expect their doctor to perform the procedure to the best of their ability.
As with all health care professionals, cosmetic surgeons have a duty to act reasonably and perform in the same way in which another surgeon in their position would act. In cases where the surgeon’s execution of the surgery fails to meet the minimum standards accepted in the medical community, and an injury results, the doctor may be liable for damages.
Potential indicators of cosmetic surgery malpractice include:
- Non-plastic surgeons performing cosmetic surgery
- Using nurse anesthetists instead of anesthesiologists to save costs
- Performing lengthy procedures in private offices away from hospitals, when unequipped to deal with any complications
- Failing to take a full patient history
- Exceeding the scope of the patient’s informed consent
- Operating on the wrong part of the body.
A rising trend in plastic surgery is the performance of cosmetic procedures by non-plastic surgeons. Some doctors may take a course on cosmetic surgery and then advertise themselves as acting plastic surgeons. As with any type of surgery, cosmetic surgery has its own intricacies and complications. An untrained and unqualified practitioner may not make the right judgment call if a complication arises.
To prevail in a [medical malpractice lawsuit] against a cosmetic or plastic surgeon, the plaintiff must show:
- The doctor had a duty to the patient
- The doctor breached that duty by acting negligently or failing to act
- An injury was sustained
- The injury is a result of the breach
Damages in a Plastic Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit
Cosmetic surgery can pose life-threatening complications, and the failure to execute these procedures skillfully and within the acceptable standards of care can pose serious risks to the patient. Injuries that may result from plastic surgery malpractice can include:
- Sudden drooping or caving of the surgical site
- Skin discoloration or other skin irregularities
- Excessive bleeding
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
Patients injured due to the negligence of a cosmetic surgeon may be entitled to economic, non-economic, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Medical Bills: A patient may be compensated for any current medical costs, as well as any medical expenses related to the injury in the future.
Lost Wages: If a patient is injured to the extent that they cannot return to their job, the negligent party may be liable for future wages the patient would have earned.
Pain and Suffering: A patient who suffers mental anguish may be compensated monetarily to mitigate the extent of the trauma caused by the malpractice.
Wrongful Death: In a case where the negligence of the attending physician results in the death of a patient, the family may be entitled to compensation. Damages available in a lawsuit can include loss of medical benefits, loss of a pension, loss of an inheritance, lost wages, loss of consortium and funeral costs.
In cases where the healthcare professional’s action or failure to act is particularly malicious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
Have you or someone you know undergone cosmetic or plastic surgery and suffered an injury as a result? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. To have a cosmetic surgery malpractice attorney review your claim, please complete our free case review form today.