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Understanding Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice

By Expert Author: David Drexler

Cosmetic surgery helps improve their self-confidence or correct for an injury or a birth defect. But when surgery causes new problems – disfigurement, illness or death – responsible doctors, professional staff, medical facilities or pharmaceutical manufacturers should cover the costs of their negligence.

When this happens, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney – also known as a medical malpractice attorney - who has extensive experience with cosmetic surgeries gone bad. For example, high profile cases of doctors administering faulty Botox have brought attention to how this very popular medication can cause serious medical problems. Serious errors are made with other procedures, including operations to correct for birth abnormalities and accident injuries.

Regardless of whether the operation was for elective or reconstructive reasons, patients have every right to expect quality care before, during and after an operation. Medical professionals promise a particular outcome, and no patient expects to be injured.

That level of care, unfortunately, does not always happen. Why? Negligence, poor training, faulty procedures, inadequate facilities and poor pre-surgical analysis are among potential causes. The patient’s fitness for surgery is sometimes overestimated. The administration of anesthesia may have been improper, the surgeon and her staff might have erred, or poor follow-up care may have led to an adverse reaction.

Once an injury occurs, however, the expense to the patient can be considerable: permanent disfigurement, costly additional medical care, lost wages and pain and suffering.

California’s statutes of limitations for bringing a case may expire if a claim is not filed within a year. The important step a patient can take is to involve a medical malpractice lawyer at the earliest juncture, in order to collect and preserve important evidence.

Who is responsible in cosmetic surgery malpractice cases?

Physicians, anesthesiologists, all other professional medical staff and therapists, healthcare facilities, surgical instrument manufacturers and pharmaceutical manufacturers each play a vital role in cosmetic procedures. Anyone who is negligent can be held responsible for cosmetic surgery malpractice.

Cosmetic surgery malpractice is sometimes thorny territory. The defense may try to place fault with the patient. Which makes it all the more important for patients and their attorney to take early, key steps in preparing for a cosmetic surgery malpractice action. Gather all medical records relating to your case, including pre- and post-op documents, and write down what you remember being discussed that may not be in the records. Include casual conversations among staff in the surgical facility. From this, your personal injury attorney will need to ascertain the following:

• Did the defendants (doctor, staff, hospital, et al.) owe a duty of care to the harmed patient?

• Was the delivery of care below community standards?

• Were the patient’s injuries due to that substandard care?

• What damages (additional medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering) resulted from the injury?

Your cosmetic surgery should meet all the standards expected of board-certified medical professionals in licensed facilities. If a mistake was made, a dangerous, debilitating and unnecessary condition may have been created. You are due a correction.

R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.

Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.

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