When you think of medical malpractice, you may think of a patient getting injured during a necessary surgical procedure. However, malpractice can also occur in situations in which the medical procedure is elective, or not medically necessary, but the patient goes through with it anyway.
This typically occurs with cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. These types of surgeries are not medically necessary, but they still happen frequently. Just like any other medical procedure, mistakes can happen and cause the patient to become seriously injured. In extreme cases, fatalities can occur due to medical malpractice.
What are your options for legal recourse in these situations? Can you file a lawsuit and recover compensation for your injuries even though the procedure may not have been required? Read on to learn more.
Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery
First, it is important to differentiate between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are two different types of procedures. While both augment the body to some degree, they each have different goals and outcomes.
Plastic surgery is a type of surgery used to reconstruct a face or body part that may be disfigured due to an injury, burn, birth defect, or other medical conditions. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is not done for a medical reason and is instead performed solely for appearance purposes. Examples of these procedures are liposuction and some rhinoplasty (nose jobs).
Types of Medical Malpractice in Plastic/Cosmetic Surgeries
Medical malpractice can occur in elective procedures. For example, a lack of informed consent may apply. If the patient was not informed of the risks involved with plastic surgery, and then suffered an injury, they might blame the doctor. Had the patient known about the risks, they might have declined the procedure.
Surgical errors can also occur. The doctor might not administer the right amount of anesthesia. The doctor could leave surgical instruments inside the body or perform work on the wrong body part. Plastic surgery can also lead to pneumonia, infections, disfigurement, skin discoloration, and even death.
The average settlement for surgery malpractice is $425,000, while a jury award can top $1 million. When the medical malpractice occurs during a plastic or cosmetic surgery, however, obtaining proper compensation can be challenging. The defense will argue that the surgery as not necessary, and therefore the patient should not receive anything. Another issue to consider is biased jurors. Jurors might believe that those who get cosmetic surgery are vain, lazy, or rich. This may not be fair, but it happens.
Work With an Experienced Plastic Surgery Malpractice Attorney
There are risks involved in any medical procedure. If you have elected to undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery and ended up injured in the process, you may be able to file a claim against the negligent medical provider.
Medical malpractice cases are extremely difficult to win, especially when they involve cosmetic surgery—an elective procedure. The plastic surgery malpractice lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. can assess your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To get started, call our office at 718-596-7800 to schedule a free consultation.