Cosmetic surgery has grown into a billion dollar industry, with thousands of Australians electing to go under the knife every year. However, more news is surfacing about the devastating results of these cosmetic surgeries, and brings to light the true harm that can arise from medical malpractice within this industry.
Read on to find out more on how to identify when a cosmetic surgeon has engaged in medical malpractice and the legal remedies available, such as medical malpractice compensation.
What is Medical Malpractice in Cosmetic Surgery?
In a cosmetic surgery context, medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence) occurs when a cosmetic surgeon causes harm to their patient through an act or omission, and this act or omission falls below the acceptable standard of practice in the Australian medical community.
The most common form of cosmetic surgery medical malpractice is a cosmetic surgeon’s failure to warn their patient of all the associated risks of a proposed procedure. A cosmetic surgeon is required to explain and provide information on all the possible outcomes and risks of a surgery before the patient decides whether to proceed. Malpractice has occurred when a cosmetic surgeon has failed to warn the the patient of all the risks and, had the patient known of the risks, would not have gone ahead with the surgery and therefore avoided an injury.
Recent cases of Cosmetic Surgery Medical Malpractice
The news remains updated with more and more cases of cosmetic surgery medical malpractice, such as:
- Failure to warn of risks: A woman has sued a cosmetic surgery business after suffering a permanent facial scarring. She was informed by her cosmetic surgeon that the worst outcome of her cosmetic surgery would be slight pinkness of the face, and was not warned of the permanent scars.
- Performing the cosmetic surgery without reasonable care or skill: Two women were rushed to hospital due to heart attacks and cardiac arrest suffered during their breast enlargement surgeries. It is currently under investigation whether this is a result of anesthesia was being wrongly injected into their blood vessels.
- Insufficient aftercare: Following a breast reduction surgery, a cosmetic surgeon failed to examine the patient before discharging her, and she subsequently contracted an infection to the treated area, and permanent scarring.
What is required to make a Medical Malpractice Compensation claim?
For those who had cosmetic surgeries that did not go according to plan, a medical malpractice compensation claim is a means of receiving compensation for the negligent actions of their cosmetic surgeon. When lodging a medical malpractice compensation claim, the following must be proven:
- A duty of care exists
All cosmetic surgeons owe their patients a duty of care. Legally, this duty of care requires that the surgeon must exercise reasonable medical care in treating their patients and should use their professional skill and judgement to provide competent medical treatment and advice
- The cosmetic surgeon did not meet the standard of care
In proving that a cosmetic surgeon’s treatment was negligent, it must be proven that their treatment did not meet the standard of care. What courts consider as acceptable standard of care is whether the cosmetic surgeon did or did not reasonably meet the Australian standards of the medical community. This is judged based on the opinion of a number of other respected cosmetic surgeons in the industry.
- There is causation
It must be established that the cosmetic surgeon’s negligent treatment caused the victim to suffer physical or psychological harm, and this harm was reasonably foreseeable by the surgeon. It must also be established that if the cosmetic surgeon had not given negligent treatment, any harm to the patient would have been avoided.
What can a patient be compensated for?
How much compensation you can receive for the harm caused by your cosmetic surgeon will vary depending on your individual circumstances, and are calculated based on the amount of harm you have suffered, rather than on the degree of negligence. The aim of compensation is to put the patient back in the position they would have been in had the cosmetic surgeon’s negligence not occurred.
You may receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical treatment and surgery expenses
- Cost of care provided by a professional, or by friends and family
- Loss of past and future earnings
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of life expectation
All cosmetic surgeons are required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance in the event of a negligence lawsuit, and therefore their insurance company will usually pay out the victim’s compensation.
Medical malpractice claims are subject to strict time limits, so if you have been the victim of cosmetic surgery medical malpractice, get in touch with Schreuder Partners today.