Tiffany Laslett

The latest on Cosmetic Surgery Negligence

Costmetic Surgery Negligence

Some time ago I wrote about the increasing number of women and men undergoing cosmetic and aesthetic surgery around the world.

This has certainly been reflected in the increasing number of enquiries we receive about cosmetic and plastic surgery at Lindbloms Lawyers compared to when I first started practicing over 25 years ago.

It is troubling to have so many clients who decided to undergo cosmetic medical and surgical procedures to change their appearance, or improve their quality of life, and be left worse off, necessitating remedial treatment by a different doctor.

With the pervasive and widening role of social media in our society, the number of persons seeking treatment is on the increase. Commercially, it is lucrative business, making patients vulnerable to the risk of being treated by inexperienced or not properly qualified operators, particularly when it comes to managing complications.

In 2018 the US Medical Journal, JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery discussed the evolution of a new phenomenon called “Snapchat Dysmorphia” where patients seek out surgery to help them appear like the photo edited version of themselves in their online life on social media, using applications like Snapchat and FaceTune. This gives rise to questions about whether or not it is realistic for a health provider to inform a patient that they are able to make those changes.

In January 2019, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the world’s largest association of Facial Plastic Surgeons, released its annual survey results for 2018.

The survey reported that in 2018, 72% of Facial Plastic Surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables in patients under age 30, this being a significant increase from 2017.  97% of AAFPRS members felt celebrities had an influence on Facial Plastic Surgery.

Of serious concern was the dramatic increase in the number of revision surgeries performed by AAFPRS members, nearly doubling since 2013.  Approximately one third of Facial Plastic Surgeons attributed this to the increase in non-medical staff doing procedures, with medical spa staff and non-core physicians not being properly trained on non-invasive technologies, leading to poor results and in the increased need for corrective procedures.

Case History

In my previous blog concerning plastic and cosmetic surgery, I referred to the case of a 20 year old woman who nearly died when she suffered a cardiac arrest during a routine breast implant procedure in Sydney at The Cosmetic Institute.

The Cosmetic Institute, (TCI) is currently the subject of class action proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.  The claim concerns breast augmentation surgery performed in various facilities in New South Wales and later, from a facility in Southport, Queensland.

In March 2018 the defendant, TCI filed an application to have the claim struck out and to prevent the matter proceeding as a class action. The nature of class actions is such that former patients are more likely to pursue compensation than would be the case if they had to start their own individual claim.  In December 2018, TPI’s application was dismissed and the class action is therefore continuing. I understand there are already over 200 claimants.

Hopefully, with the media attention the above claim has attracted, and the implementation and enforcement of the Guidelines of the Medical Board of Australia referred to in my previous blog, the incidence of complications from cosmetic surgery are contained and unscrupulous operators, and inappropriately qualified health providers are prevented from causing more damage.

Need Advice?

If you have suffered complications from cosmetic procedures or surgery, you may entitled to claim compensation.  This will depend upon various factors including whether you were properly informed of the risks associated with the procedure before deciding to go ahead and/or the qualifications, skill and experience of the person who performed the procedure.

Generally, adults only have 3 years from the date of an injury to bring a claim but there are circumstances where this can be extended.

Regardless, it is important that you obtain legal advice promptly.

Contact us for an obligation free appointment today.

Find out more about medical negligence here.