Cosmetic surgery is designed to improve the physical body or appearance. Some patients require plastic surgery to repair scars or damage due to burns or serious accidents. However, when a patient entrusts a plastic surgeon to make things better and ends up injured or dead, the question arises: When can a plastic surgeon be held liable?
Some standard plastic surgery procedures that may result in injury or death are:
- Face lift.
- Neck tightening.
- Breast augmentation or reduction.
- Skin peels.
Some other less invasive treatments may include injecting the patient with chemicals such as Botox. These can have unexpected side effects or, if misused, may result in a case of malpractice.
Some Common Injuries or Complications from Plastic Surgery
Although people tend to think of cosmetic surgery as an elective, simple process, it is actually major surgery. Plastic surgery can result in some very severe complications, even if malpractice is not an issue. Some of the most common potentially fatal problems are:
- Reopening of incision, causing deadly infections.
- Permanent nerve damage.
- Complications related to anesthesia.
- Blood clots.
- Leakage and fluid buildup under the skin.
- Errors and mistakes causing further issues.
These are just a few of the many dangerous side effects that may result from plastic surgery.
When is a Plastic Surgeon Held Liable?
If you an unhappy with the results of your plastic surgery, that is not enough to take them to court. Each state has specific laws regarding medical malpractice and any limits on damages a patient can seek legally. However, to litigate successfully, you have to prove that the doctor made an error or was negligent in some way.
Examples of Medical Malpractice in Plastic Surgery
Some things that would qualify as medical malpractice for plastic surgery are giving the wrong dosage of anesthesia or other medication, operating on the incorrect body part, or leaving a sponge or tool inside the patient. Sometimes it comes down to failing to get a consent form signed that clearly explained the risks before surgery. Suppose the doctor or office does not take down a full medical history and doesn’t know about an allergy or past medical issue, and it creates complications with the new surgery. In that case, this also qualifies as medical malpractice.
Florida Law and Plastic Surgery
Due to the elective nature of plastic surgery, it may be harder to convince a jury that the patient doesn’t bear some responsibility. However, most cases result in a settlement long before trial. Florida law does stipulate that you must prove negligence or malpractice. The best way to do this is a witness who can corroborate your story. If you require subsequent treatment to fix any issues caused by your plastic surgery, that also becomes evidence. If a loved one underwent plastic surgery and died, you may have a malpractice case.
Contact a reputable Florida medical malpractice attorney to determine your options and how to proceed legally.