Injury Resulting From Plastic SurgeryThe difference with a plastic surgeons negligence is that most often the surgery was not aimed at improving the patients health. Therefore, unless negligence caused some kind of injury, a patient cannot claim malpractice simply because they are unhappy with the result. In 2012, close to 15 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in the United States. Overwhelmingly the most common were minimally invasive, such as botox injections, but almost 2 million were invasive surgeries.
Breast augmentations and reductions are one of the leading reasons a woman will seek out a plastic surgeon. There are risks with these types of surgeries, and the most popular claims of malpractice include disfigurement, nerve damage and excessive scarring. Nose surgery is also much sought after. Negligence during that type of procedure can lead to a patient having difficulty breathing.
Elective surgeries that focus on obesity are a growing trend in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of Americans look towards liposuction, tummy tucks, and gastric bypass each year to help them lose and maintain an ideal weight. All of these surgeries can potentially cause great harm to a patient, including internal bleeding, nerve damage and even death.
Lap-Band SurgeryLap-Band surgery has become one of the more popular solutions to Americans struggling to lose weight. The procedure involves placing a silicone band around a portion of the stomach reducing the amount of food that can be ingested. This is an invasive procedure that involves the patient being put under with anesthesia. Since actual contact is made with the stomach, there is a risk of puncture. After care for this procedure must include careful monitoring for signs of infection.
A Missouri resident opted to try a lap-band after other weight loss surgeries had failed her. In order to implant the band, several adhesions from those prior procedures had to be removed, increasing the risk of perforating the bowel. Being a known risk, a medical malpractice attorney would not be able to file a claim solely on the surgeons nicking of the bowel two times. The negligence occurred when symptoms of infection went unnoticed, even though there should have been a higher alert on a patient with this type of history. She was sent home ill but returned to the hospital just hours later with no sensation to her legs. CT scans showed leakage from the site and another surgeon performed an emergency surgery to repair the damage. This case went all the way to trial, with the jury agreeing that the surgeon was negligent and caused the plaintiffs’ peritonitis and organ damage by not responding to the warning signs of infection. They awarded the patient $179,000.
There are risks involved in all types of surgery. A person choosing an elective surgery to enhance their appearance does not expect to come out of it with a medical injury. If you have suffered from surgical error malpractice you might have a legal claim against the surgeon. Contact the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm to help determine what your legal options are.
photo credit: VishaKapoorMD