Plastic Surgery and Medical Negligence
Introduction to Plastic Surgery and Medical Negligence Claims
Plastic surgery and medical negligence are terms commonly used together, and while compensation for a plastic surgery error can be claimed due to the negligence of a surgeon, this must be established and proven for a case to be successful.
The decision to have a surgical procedure is made to improve the aesthetic appearance of a part of the body, and amazing results are often expected by patients. In reality, while the desired look can usually be achieved, it is not always possible with a single procedure. In some cases plastic surgery produces disastrous results, but this may not necessarily be the fault of the surgeon or constitute negligence.
There is no guarantee that a particular procedure will be 100% effective, and even the most skilled cosmetic surgeon may not be able to predict whether a particular operation will produce the results that are expected. Many patients believe that cosmetic procedures are always easy and straightforward, but complications with plastic surgery can arise which no one would be expected to predict. If it would not have been possible to prevent a patient from coming to harm during a surgical procedure, a claim for complications with plastic surgery would not be possible.
A common problem arises when patients have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved, even when the process and probability of a successful outcome have been explained in detail by a plastic surgeon. To ensure the risks of surgery are given full consideration by a patient, a plastic surgeon must allow a two week cooling off period before a procedure is performed. A failure to do so would be classed as professional negligence.
Regardless of how an injury has occurred or the explanation given for an undesirable result, it is important to seek legal advice to establish whether a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong can be made.
When Does Plastic Surgery Constitute Medical Negligence?
If you have had plastic surgery and medical negligence claims are being considered, there are a number of criteria which must be fulfilled before the right to claim compensation for a plastic surgery error can be confirmed:
- A surgeon — or an operating room assistant — must have been negligent
- There must have been a failure in a duty of care
- A patient must have come to harm or suffered unduly because of an act of negligence
- Any harm caused must have been avoidable
If you want to claim plastic surgery injury compensation, you must have sustained an injury during a cosmetic procedure which was caused by incompetence of a surgeon, resulted from a serious error of judgement or – if a cosmetic procedure was botched – due to inadequate care being provided. You may be entitled to claim for plastic surgery gone wrong for avoidable complications with plastic surgery or if a surgeon failed to explain the risks associated with the procedure.
Regardless of the error or result, it is only possible to claim plastic surgery injury compensation if there was negligence at some point from the initial consultation to the cessation of post-operative care. A claim can also be made when a plastic surgeon has committed professional negligence and has breached the terms of the contract signed by the patient.
Common Reasons Why a Claim for Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong is Made?
There are numerous scenarios under which plastic surgery injury compensation can be claimed, and it is not possible to cover every possible situation in this article; although the most common reasons why claims for plastic surgery and medical negligence compensation are made have been listed below:
- Surgical errors resulting in injuries
- Medical complications with plastic surgery
- Failure to adequately explain the limitations of a procedure
- Failure to explain the risks of surgery
- Anaesthesia errors such as anaesthetic awareness during an operation
- Sagging skin due to botched cosmetic surgery
- Infections caused by poor hygiene standards
- Perforated bowels and internal organs during surgery
- Excessive and unsightly scarring
- Nerve damage
- Uneven or incorrectly positioned breast implants
- Rupturing of faulty or perforated implants
- Negligence in post-operative care and patient follow ups
If you feel that the results of a cosmetic surgical procedure have been poor, and the surgeon was to blame in any way, you should speak with a medical negligence solicitor to discuss whether it is possible to recover compensation for a plastic surgery error and to find out what actions must be taken in order to do so. A solicitor will assess your case, will advise you about the options available and will give you specific legal advice about the steps that must be taken to start a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong.
Plastic Surgery and Medical Negligence Claims Assessments
When the work of a plastic surgeon falls below an acceptable standard it may be a fairly straightforward process to prove that the surgeon in question has acted with incompetence. However it is not always possible to claim for an error made during plastic surgery, and medical negligence must always be proven in order for plastic surgery injury compensation to be recovered.
An experienced medical negligence solicitor may be able to obtain evidence to prove that the actions — or inaction – of a medical professional constituted negligence, but this can only be confirmed by a medical expert. For this reason a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong must be independently reviewed by an expert in the field.
When medical complications arise during a surgical procedure, it is rarely possible to ascertain with absolute certainty that these were caused by the actions of the plastic surgeon, and would not have arisen if a highly experienced and skilled surgeon performed the operation.
It is therefore only necessary to prove that the actions of the surgeon constituted negligence ‘on the balance of probabilities’. If ‘on the balance of probabilities’ a reasonably competent and attentive cosmetic surgeon could have taken a course of action — and in all likelihood would have done so under the same set of circumstances — to prevent the patient from coming to harm, or would have prevented medical complications with plastic surgery, a claim for compensation for a plastic surgery error is usually possible.
Compensation for a Surgical Error During Plastic Surgery
Surgical errors made during plastic surgery and medical negligence often go hand in hand. A surgeon should have a level of skill which ensures that a procedure can be performed safely and correctly, although even highly accomplished cosmetic surgeons can make errors during surgery on occasions. When the outcome of a procedure has failed to produce the expected results due to an error made by a surgeon, a patient may be offered a second procedure without being charged. In such cases it may not be necessary to make a claim for compensation.
In cases where a serious injury has been sustained such as a bowel perforation during a tummy tuck, there has been nerve damage from a face lift or when excessive scarring from plastic surgery has occurred, the consequences for the patient can be severe. In such cases claiming plastic surgery injury compensation stops being an option and becomes a necessity to cover the cost of medical care.
Whether it is worthwhile making a claim for a surgical error during plastic surgery will depend on the medical consequences of the error and how that mistake has affected the patient. When serious harm has been caused, psychological problems suffered or a patient has been left severely scarred or disfigured due to a surgical error during plastic surgery, a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong should be worth while pursuing.
Even when relatively minor injuries caused by a surgical error during plastic surgery, or medical complications with plastic surgery, have been suffered it may be possible — and worth your while – to make a personal injury claim. You should therefore speak with a medical negligence solicitor about your case to find out if you qualify to make a claim; and it should be possible to find out approximately how much compensation for a plastic surgery error can be recovered.
Claims for Excessive Scarring After Plastic Surgery
A cosmetic surgery injury claim for excessive scarring from plastic surgery and medical negligence claims for disfigurement can usually be made if a plastic surgeon has performed an incorrect closure on a patient, although this type of injury claim has potential to be highly complicated.
A skilled plastic surgeon can perform the same procedure on two different patients, and have one heal perfectly with no scarring, while another patient may be left with highly visible scars. This may not be the fault of the surgeon concerned, and may be due to the healing response of a particular patient or other medical issues outside the control of the plastic surgeon. If the plastic surgeon could not have taken any actions to reduce the scarring under the circumstances, a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong will not be possible.
It must therefore be established — by a medical negligence solicitor after consulting medical experts — that excessive scarring could have been avoided had the surgeon performed a closure correctly and has acted with negligence. If a plastic surgeon fails to warn a patient of the risk of scarring following a particular procedure, this would also be classed as negligence and would be grounds for making a plastic surgery injury compensation claim.
Compensation for Nerve Damage During Plastic Surgery
The most feared complications with plastic surgery are nerve damage during plastic surgery. When nerves are damaged — or severed completely — the consequences for the patient can be catastrophic. Nerve damage can be permanent leading to paralysis of the muscles and a lack of sensation; although even relatively minor nerve damage can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Nerves can spontaneously heal in many cases, although this can take up to 12 months. In some cases it may be years before the nerves fully heal. When a surgeon causes nerve damage due to negligence, compensation for a plastic surgery error should be awarded.
When a patent undergoes plastic surgery, and medical negligence claims need to be made for nerve damage, it is essential that a solicitor is involved promptly. This is the most serious example of a surgical error during plastic surgery and it is essential that a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong is professionally prepared – not only to maximise the probability of success, but also of recovering the full entitlement to compensation.
A solicitor will arrange for expert doctors to be consulted to assess the level of damage caused to the nerves to establish whether further surgical procedures can be performed to facilitate the healing process. If surgery can reduce the symptoms of nerve damage and improve the prognosis of the patient making a full recovery, the cost of treatment will be added to the plastic surgery injury compensation claim.
Claiming for Complications with Plastic Surgery
Some of the most problematic cases of plastic surgery and medical negligence involve claiming compensation for complications with plastic surgery. Complications with plastic surgery may arise which could not have been predicted or even prevented, and in such cases compensation for a plastic surgery error cannot be claimed.
Simply because a complication has arisen with plastic surgery and medical negligence is suspected, it does not mean that this is the case. It must be established and proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the complication was avoidable had appropriate planning taken place or if a procedure had been performed with a reasonable amount of care and skill.
Proving that complications with plastic surgery developed due to medical negligence requires expert medical opinion to be obtained from an independent plastic surgeon. A test that is commonly applied is whether a competent plastic surgeon would have taken a course of action which would have prevented a patient from coming to harm under the same set of circumstances. If it cannot be proven that complications with plastic surgery were avoidable, a claim for plastic surgery injury compensation will not be successful.
Since claims for complications with plastic surgery have the potential to be highly problematic, it is essential that legal advice is sought to determine whether under the circumstances a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong can be made.
Speak with a Medical Negligence Solicitor About Claiming Plastic Surgery Injury Compensation
If you have had plastic surgery and medical negligence claims are being considered, of if you feel that a plastic surgeon has breached the terms of your contract, you should seek advice from a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible to discuss claiming compensation. You should explain how plastic surgery has gone wrong, any injuries you have suffered and what your plastic surgeon told you before your treatment – and his or her opinion on the outcome.
It may not be possible for a calculation of the amount of compensation for a plastic surgery error to be determined on the first call, or even for medical negligence to be established without an investigation of the case being conducted. However you should be advised if you appear to have grounds for making a claim for plastic surgery gone wrong.
You will receive important legal advice specific to your case and you will be advised of the actions that should be taken to ensure that the right to recover plastic surgery injury compensation is not lost, should a claim for plastic surgery injury compensation turn out to be possible and worth your while pursuing.