Because they aren't major, life-saving surgeries, plastic and cosmetic procedures are sometimes not taken as seriously as they should be by patients. So instead of performing their due diligence in trying to find the best qualified surgeon possible, patients are sometimes more concerned about finding the practitioner who will charge them the lowest price. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in the number of plastic and cosmetic procedures being performed by unqualified surgeons, which in turn has led to some horrific results. So what should you do if you have undergone a cosmetic procedure that has left you disfigured or worse?
Do You Have a Case?
You may not like the results of your cosmetic surgery, but that does not mean you necessarily have legal recourse. As long as the doctor performed the procedure with the expected level of skill and also provided you with the type of treatment that any other surgeon would have provided under similar circumstances, they will have met accepted medical standards.
But if your surgery has resulted in permanent disfigurement, injuries or life-threatening complications, your surgeon may not have met those standards and you should consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The following are also reasons why you may have a medical malpractice case:
- The doctor who performed your surgery was actually not qualified to perform the procedure. If your surgery was botched, you may want to look into your physician's credentials to see if they actually had the training necessary to perform the procedure. According to USAToday30, many doctors who are licensed to practice medicine are now offering cosmetic procedures that they are not adequately trained to perform. Why? Because this field can be very lucrative for a physician and the oversight has been lax.
- The surgery was done on an outpatient basis in a setting that was not properly equipped to deal with a complication or emergency that arose during your procedure. It's possible that the injury or complication you suffered during your surgery could have been prevented if the procedure had been performed in a properly equipped medical facility.
- The physician performed work that was beyond the scope of the patient's informed consent that you signed. Your doctor should not have performed any procedures on you that you did not specifically consent to, so if you suffered an injury or complication during an unauthorized procedure, you may be able to pursue a malpractice case against the physician.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you believe that you may have a medical malpractice case, it is important to talk to a reputable medical malpractice lawyer with expertise in this area to determine the validity of your case. The attorney will also explain to you what type of monetary damages you might be able to expect. For example, you may be able to recover for the following:
- Your medical bills. For example, you may be able to recover for surgeries you underwent to correct any disfigurement from the original procedure.
- Any lost wages. If you had to miss work because of your surgery, you can recover for your lost earnings.
- Pain and suffering. The judge may also award you monetary damages for any pain that you suffered due to complications arising from the surgery.
Finally, it is important to file your case in a timely fashion. Each state has a specific statute of limitations in which you can file your suit. It may be from one year after the medical malpractice occurred or was discovered to even up to five years. If you don't file your case within this time frame, you could forfeit your opportunity to recover for your damages.