Medical Negligence

Botched Surgency Compensation Guide

Many Australians undergo cosmetic surgery each year, hoping to achieve excellent results. However, some unfortunate individuals can be the victims of a botched plastic surgery, which brings with it a number of implications. Often, the only step forward from a cosmetic surgery gone wrong is to file a medical negligence claim.

Read on to learn more about the steps involved in suing a cosmetic surgeon and how compensation lawyers can help to maximise your claim.

Cosmetic Surgeries In Australia

Cosmetic surgery can be a procedure to correct an issue with your body or to enhance a feature of your body. It can encompass anything from receiving skin grafts to correct serious burns on the body to breast reduction or augmentation.

There are many reasons thousands of Australians choose to go under the knife but usually, the main one is that they believe they will have a better quality of life post-surgery. This, however, is not always the case.

As the number of botched plastic surgery procedures increases, so to do medical negligence claims. Recently, a group of women brought forward a malpractice case against the largest cosmetic surgery provider in Australia after being left with serious complications from breast augmentation procedures. This is one of many cosmetic surgery negligence claims filed each year.

The surge in unregistered plastic surgeons

More and more backyard beauty parlours and salons are now practising plastic surgery, with many untrained beauticians performing procedures without doctors or nurses on site. This growing wave of dangerous behaviour has prompted many doctors to speak out and issue warnings about the dangers of unregistered plastic surgeons.

NSW’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, has warned that ‘[Unregistered cosmetic surgery] places people at greater risk of poor surgical outcomes, severe infections and even nerve damage or disfigurement’. Dr McAnulty has particularly warned of the ‘great risk’ of unregistered procedures such as botox, dermal fillers and eyelid surgery. Both botox and dermal fillers can only be administered by a medical practitioner or a nurse under the supervision of a doctor.

NSW president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Saxon Smith, has echoed the calls of caution, stating that ‘when if comes to cosmetic surgery performed by an unregistered practition, it is not worth risking your face over’.

In one case, a victim of a double eyelid procedure performed by a backyard beautician was left with one eye larger than the other and faced with several months of waiting to find out if she had suffered permanent damage. Other cases have also reported contamination of equipment due to poor hygiene and lack of sterilisation, which has increased the victim’s risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses and other infection. In more serious cases, these surgeries have even resulted in death.

When Is It Medical Malpractice?

It is important to determine if you have sufficient grounds to make a medical negligence claim. The easiest way to do this is to consult with cosmetic surgery lawyers so that you are receiving the best advice for your particular situation.

Some common reasons for suing a cosmetic surgeon include:

Qualifications that a plastic surgeon should have

You should always ensure that your plastic surgeon is qualified to perform plastic surgery. In Australia, all plastic surgeons must have successfully completed training at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) before they are approved by the Government to perform plastic surgery.

You should also ensure the plastic surgeon is experienced in the particular type of procedure you wish to undertake, as some procedures may be new or may require certain expertise.

How to spot an unregistered plastic surgeon

The surgical setting is often a good indication about the legitimacy of the surgical practice. Many unregistered plastic surgeons operate out of carpeted living rooms, with patients being set on beds or couches. If your procedure is taking part in a residential apartment, this is a clear sign that the plastic surgeon is unregistered.

The price of a procedure can also be a good indication, as the price of unregistered plastic surgeons are marginally less than fully qualified surgeons. While many people wish to save money by opting for an unregistered surgeon, the risks do outweigh the small difference in price. Remember that plastic surgery is an elective procedure, not an emergency procedure, and you should only elect to undergo the surgery if you can afford all the relevant fees and costs of a qualified plastic surgeon.

Lastly, the platform in which the plastic surgeon advertises their practice should be considered. Many unregistered plastic surgeons have been known to predominantly target Asian Australians and recent Chinese migrants, particularly through the social media platform of WeChat.

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Liability of The Cosmetic Surgeon

Cosmetic surgeons must demonstrate the highest of medical standards when providing care to patients. Failing to provide the expected medical competency that a reasonable cosmetic surgeon would provide under similar circumstances would suggest medical malpractice. By law, a surgeon must list and explain all possible complications that may occur as a result of your elected procedure and they must make sure that you fully understand the likelihood of these risks occurring.

Medical Negligence Claims

Once you have determined you have reasonable cause for concern, you need to begin filing a medical negligence claim against your cosmetic surgeon. Having knowledgeable cosmetic surgery lawyers during this process will help you make sure you build the strongest case possible.

To prove receive compensation, you must be able to prove that:

  • A duty of care was owed to you by your cosmetic surgeon
  • Your cosmetic surgeon breached this duty of care by acting negligently or failing to act reasonably
  • You have sustained a life-altering injury as a result of your cosmetic surgeon’s actions

Cosmetic surgery can often result in complications that worsen your original issue. It is important to make sure that you are perfectly aware of this before you go under the knife. Your cosmetic surgeon needs to be held accountable if they failed to debrief you on the following common complications:

  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Scarring and general dissatisfaction with end result
  • Organ damage

Compensation

Compensation given in most medical negligence claims is intended to return the victim to the position they would be in had the negligent act not occurred. However, this can be difficult when compensating for serious physical injury as this can have long-lasting effects on the individual.

Pain and suffering are usually awarded based on precedents set by previous cases dealing with similar circumstances. Amounts awarded are divided into two types of damages, special damages, and general damages. Usually, your compensation amount will cover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and wrongful death (compensation will be given to the patient’s family).

Time Restrictions For Medical Negligence Claims

Medical negligence claims often take place a long time after the original procedure was undergone. Complications from a botched plastic surgery can take time to become evident, which is why the time frame for medical negligence claims can vary.

Victims should speak to compensation lawyers to determine if they are within the time restrictions for medical negligence claims. Once you are sure that you are within the timeframe, and that there are signs of complications that you were not informed of prior to undergoing surgery, speak with cosmetic surgery compensation lawyers to decide your next course of action.

You may need to gather evidence of your interactions with your cosmetic surgeon in order to strengthen your case. Experienced compensation lawyers can assist with this.

If you have been the victim of a botched plastic surgery, contact Schreuders for a free consultation. Medical negligence claims are lengthy and complicated. Having the support of experienced compensation lawyers will ensure that you have the best chance of success.

What to do if you have visited an unregistered plastic surgeon

For those who had cosmetic surgeries that did not go according to plan, a medical negligence claim is a means of receiving compensation for the negligent actions of their plastic surgeon. How much compensation you can receive for the harm caused by your plastic surgeon will vary depending on your individual circumstances, and are calculated based on the amount of harm you have suffered.

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