In evaluating a cosmetic or plastic surgery case from a medical malpractice point of view there are several things that need to be considered:
A couple of areas where these types of malpractice cases should be closely scrutinized is in regards to whether the patient is even an appropriate candidate for the surgery and then secondly post-operative care.
Certain types of patients are simply high risk for elective surgeries. The morbidly obese are not good candidates for elective procedures because the risk of complications is greater with them. For instance, performing a tummy tuck on a morbidly obese person is probably not a good idea.
People that are diabetic or have hypertension likewise are probably not good candidates for elective surgery since these conditions increase the risk of infection and improper healing. In addition, it frequently is the case that doctors do not properly make the preoperative diagnosis of diabetes because they do not perform the Hemoglobin A1C test which is the most accurate measure of diabetes.
Smokers typically have difficulty healing after surgery. Plastic surgeons should require that patients stop smoking for several months before the procedure is undertaken.
Postoperative care can also be a significant issue with plastic surgeons since many of them are simply not attuned to dealing with this phase of recovery. Wounds frequently become infected. The task of dealing with the wound is frequently left to the office staff who may not be trained to properly diagnose tissue that has been devitalized and may not be able to recognize necrosis.
Plastic surgeons are inclined to utilize outpatient plastic surgery centers since access to them may be easier for both the physician and the patient. If in fact the procedure was performed at such a center, it is important to check the state licensing requirements for exactly what types of procedures can be performed at these centers and whether or not they are properly licensed to begin with.
Finally many plastic surgeons now are requiring that patients, within their consent form, sign off on an arbitration agreement.
These arbitration agreements need to be closely scrutinized since they obviously deprive the plaintiff of the right to a jury trial and frequently are put in front of the patient at the last minute before the procedure is performed and are not properly brought to the patient’s attention before signing.
If you have been injured as a result of the actions or inactions of a plastic surgeon, contact us.