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Can You Sue for Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong?

Can You Sue for Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong?

Plastic surgery is a powerful area of medicine that helps people reconstruct areas of the body ravaged by injury. It is also used extensively for cosmetic purposes. Regardless of the why, when plastic surgery goes wrong, the patient, in many instances, may sue.  

However, not every case of plastic surgery gone wrong is actionable under New York law.  

Understanding Plastic Surgery Malpractice 

Licensed professionals within the plastic surgery field have a duty to maintain accepted standards of treatment and care when attending to patients. When they fail to do so and harm results, they can be held liable for medical malpractice. 

Determining whether plastic surgery malpractice has occurred often involves a complicated, technical inquiry into the circumstances. Common types of medical malpractice discovered during these inquiries include: 

  • Nerve damage caused by insufficient care during surgery 
  • Abnormal or excessive scarring due to improper surgical performance 
  • Negligent treatment of chronic pain 
  • Surgical instruments, rags, or other items left in a patient 
  • Infections due to negligent practices 
  • Anesthesia errors 
  • Wrong-site surgery 

These and other examples of negligence can warrant a patient suing a plastic surgeon or other related professional for medical malpractice. However, the patient must also prove that the alleged negligence was the cause of the harm they suffered. 

Proving Medical Negligence 

In other words, alleging negligence is not enough. The patient’s attorney must connect the negligent act with the harm as well. Consider a plastic surgeon who leaves a rag inside a patient. If the patient later has a stroke, they may allege that the presence of the rag led to the stroke, but they must also prove it.  

If faced with a medical malpractice suit in this case, a plastic surgeon may allege that the stroke had other causes. What typically ensues is a battle of the experts, where each side provides medical experts to attest to the cause of the stroke.  

Although proving medical negligence caused an injury may be difficult in many cases, in others, it is much simpler. For instance, a case of wrong-site surgery is difficult to defend against.  

Non-Malpractice Problems 

It is important to keep in mind that not all plastic surgeries that go wrong involve medical malpractice. A surgery can go terribly wrong due to some factor entirely out of the control of the medical staff and hospital.  

Defective Instruments and Equipment 

Plastic surgeons and their teams use a myriad of instruments and equipment to perform complex, detailed operations. They rely on tool and equipment makers to provide them with safe and effective tools. However, dangerously defective medical products make their way into operating rooms all the time.  

In cases where a dangerously defective product is responsible for a plastic surgery gone wrong, the victim can take action against the product maker, designer, retailer, or distributor, depending on the circumstances.  

Third Parties 

In certain cases of plastic surgeries gone wrong, a third party is the cause. A third party in this context is a party other than the medical staff, hospital, and patient. For example, a product maker would be a third party. Other third parties may include: 

  • The building owner of a surgical clinic or facility 
  • Utility providers and their employees 
  • Family members 
  • The general public 
  • Delivery drivers 
  • Other patients 
  • Janitorial and custodial services 
  • Maintenance companies 

When these parties are to blame for a plastic surgery gone wrong, the basis of the lawsuit would not be medical malpractice, but negligence. 

Damages for Plastic Surgeries Gone Wrong 

Given the nature of plastic surgery treatments, many victims of bad operations find themselves dealing with emotional and psychological injuries along with physical ones. Although it is difficult to measure the non-economic impacts these patients face, medical malpractice attorneys work meticulously to put numbers to their clients’ suffering.  

Typical damages available in plastic surgery malpractice cases provide compensation for: 

  • Medical and hospital care to address the harm done 
  • Lost wages and income for time off work 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. 

Sadly, some plastic surgeries result in the death of the patient. In these unfortu5nate circumstances, the decedent’s family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages.  

Recovering Compensation for Plastic Surgery Malpractice 

Plastic surgery can and does go wrong. When it does, the negligent and reckless surgeons or other associated professionals can be liable in New York.  

The experienced medical malpractice team at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can review your case over a confidential, free consultation. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help you receive valuable funds to cover your losses.