Elective Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Medical malpractice is negligence that gets a special name because of the unique circumstances under which the act or omission occurred.  When medical professionals acting within a doctor-patient relationship make a negligent mistake, we call it medical malpractice.  

Whether a patient decides to have a doctor recommended surgery, or when the patient elects to have surgery that is of his or her own option, a commonality exists despite the major difference.  That commonality is the patient’s consent to have the chosen doctor perform the desired procedure.  

The experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney knows of another commonality between elective and required surgery.  Regardless of the reason for having the surgery, no patient consents to receiving negligent medical care.  Electing surgery does not amount to electing to accept the risk of being victimized by medical malpractice.  Therefore, elective surgery and cosmetic surgery can result in medical malpractice.

Attorneys see medical malpractice occur more often in a specific set of cosmetic surgeries.  This is because some cosmetic surgeries are more common than others.  Breast augmentation, fact lifts, nose jobs, liposuction, eyelid surgery, and neck lifts are some of the most common cosmetic surgeries and this is where one will see more instances of medical malpractice.  

Elective surgery or not, the same basic rules about medical malpractice apply.  If there is a doctor patient relationship, and that doctor deviates from the standard of care due to the patient and thereby causes injury and damages to the patient, than medical malpractice has occurred.

With that said, nuances exist that make finding a plastic surgeon negligent different from finding a general practitioner negligent.  The nuance is that apples cannot be compared to oranges; the fruit must be the same and from the same growing region, so to speak.

What this means is that in order to establish the medical standard of care that the offending plastic surgeon has to follow requires expert testimony.  The offending surgeon can only be compared to other plastic surgeons that do the same kind of surgery within the same geographic regions.  A liposuction surgeon in New York cannot be compared to a nose job surgeon in Louisiana. 

What constitutes “harm” or “injury” is specific too.  Often times, plastic surgery patients look in the mirror after surgery and are unhappy with the results; they wish the surgery made them look better somehow.  Being unsatisfied or unhappy is not the same as being harmed or injured.  When something goes wrong that should not have gone wrong; when a mistake happens that should not have happened, is when harm occurs.

For example, being given an overdose of anesthesia is an instance of malpractice.  So too is accidental nerve damage.  Infections can amount to medical malpractice as well.  

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.

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