When Plastic Surgery Turns Into a Case of Malpractice

  • By:David Bate

When it comes to medical malpractice cases, it can be confusing for the prospective plaintiff about whether or not they have a claim. Even when the plaintiff’s lawyer agrees that there is cause to seek damages, issues can be raised that may affect the case and create even more hardships for the plaintiff. A look at what constitutes malpractice in cases of plastic surgery can help separate fact from fiction.

What Constitutes Malpractice in Plastic Surgery?

When it comes to malpractice issues in plastic surgery there are two main concerns.

  1. Most failed plastic surgeries are the result of a procedural or surgical error. Primarily, a surgical error occurs when the surgeon botches the operation, but it also includes:
    1. Post-op infections
    2. Negligent use of drugs during the procedure
    3. Complications from anesthesia
  2. The second category concerns the surgeon. In some cases, a malpractice suit may be filed in response to mistakes made by the surgeon.
    1. Operating on the wrong leg, foot, arm, etc.
    2. Making a surgical mistake that was absolutely avoidable.
    3. Mishandling surgical complications when they develop.

When considering cosmetic surgery, always ensure that your chosen surgeon is board certified to perform the procedures. Also, review testimonials from previous patients may as they may shed some light on the surgeon’s experience and reputation.

Cosmetic Surgery Presents Greater Challenges in Malpractice Suits

There are a number of obstacles unique to plastic surgery malpractice cases that don’t usually apply to other types of malpractice lawsuits. This is due largely to the fact that cosmetic surgery is considered to be unnecessary in the majority of cases.

  • Juries are largely unsympathetic with plaintiffs in cosmetic surgery cases, because in their view, the plaintiff sought the surgery only for vanity’s sake. The goal, of course, is to look better and juries tend to feel that the plaintiff shouldn’t be reimbursed simply because the end result wasn’t exactly what he or she had in mind.
  • Juries will often give the surgeon a wider margin for error than in other malpractice cases, if no debilitating harm resulted.
  • If the patient was not harmed by the cosmetic procedure, juries will often award lower damages, even when the plaintiff does win the case. The point that these are elective surgeries are usually foremost in the jurors’ minds.
  • While it may be unsettling to think about, juries can be biased against plaintiffs from the very beginning. They often see the plaintiff as someone who was too conceited or too lazy to exercise and, having an excess of money at their disposal, chose the easy way out.
  • If a juror has had successful plastic surgery in the past, he or she might blame the plaintiff for choosing a poorly rated doctor. This type of juror may feel that the plaintiff should have done a better job of researching the surgeon, before committing to any procedure.

It’s human nature for people to criticize others in what may seem like cases of vanity and extravagance, so convincing a jury to side with a plaintiff in plastic surgery malpractice cases is often challenging. However, even when there are valid reasons for the procedure and the surgeon is one of undisputed repute, avoidable and serious mistakes can happen. If you or someone close to you was a victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced lawyer such as the Personal Injury Lawyer Cave Creek Arizona locals trust.

Alex and Saavedra P.C. Legal Better

Authors from Alex & Saavedra provide expertise into Personal Injury Law and Medical Malpractice.

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