Published on December 20th, 2010 by Martha Collins
According to the Medical Defense Union (MDU), a not-for-profit UK organization that helps mediate between surgeons and patients in medical negligence incidents, clear communication between both patients and surgeons is the key to avoid incidents of cosmetic surgery gone wrong and claims or lawsuits being brought against surgeons.
MDU has settled a total of 250 cosmetic surgery claims, an average of 25 per year, between 1996 and 2005. however, there is no clear sign of the number of claims increasing, despite the fact the number of cosmetic procedures continues to rise.
The main reasons for patients making claims were categorized by the MDU as follows:
- Dissatisfaction with the aesthetic results (42%)
- Unaccepted Scarring (24%)
- Infection (12%)
- Nerve damage (3%)
- Wrong Operation (3%)
- Other (16%)
These results highlight the importance of communication between both patients and surgeons, to effectively present both desired and expected results from the surgery. The MDU has highlighted poor communication of side effects and absence of consent on behalf of the surgeon as probable reasons for plastic surgery gone wrong
Below are examples of real life claims made by patients against surgeons in response to results of facelift procedures. These cases have all been taken directly from the MDU’s December 2006 publication.
A middle aged man who had a face lift and blepharoplasty made a claim against his surgeon alleging that he was not warned that any scars would be visible after the facelift. he also complained of a scar near his mouth, which it was later discovered was due to a burn from a diathermy instrument used during the operation to seal blood vessels and which had accidentally touched the patient’s face. The claim was settled for £25,000, as a result of cosmetic surgery gone wrong.
A young man sued a cosmetic surgeon because he was unhappy with the results of a rhinoplasty. he complained that he had suffered breathing problems since the operation and that he had asked the surgeon to make his nose smaller but that this hadn’t been achieved. he needed two further operations to get the effect he wanted and to correct the breathing problems. The doctor had kept careful notes of the pre-operative discussion and was able to show that he had counseled the patient about the aesthetic effect which could be achieved. The claim was settled for £10,000 in recognition of the patient’s breathing problems.
At Facelift-pedia, we believe that it is in the public interest for transparent information on cosmetic medical negligence incidents to be readily available. because of Data Protection Laws, patients in the UK have limited access to objective, systematic information about malpractice lawsuits and medical negligence incidents – unlike patients in the US.
Furthermore, plastic surgery is often a hush-hush topic among both patients who undergo plastic surgery and among those who are considering it. It is also one of the least regulated medical areas, and one where a majority of patients pay out of pocket for treatments in private establishments. When plastic surgery goes wrong, most patients do not voice the dangers and failures publicly. These factors result in a highly divergent standard of care. We hope to be your voice. please contact us if you have a real story to tell. Blow the whistle, and we will help the fight againts cosmetic surgery gone wrong.
Or contact AvMA, Action against Medical Accidents, an independent charity that promotes better patient safety and justice for people who have been affected by a medical accident.
Source: MDU Journal Volume 22 Issue 2 December 2006