One of the most infamous cases of plastic surgery gone wrong is Donda West, rapper Kanye West’s mother, who died following a breast reduction. Whether you are famous or not, being physically hurt or having someone you love die at the hands of a trusted physician is a harrowing experience.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that there were 18.1 million cosmetic procedures done in 2019, which equates to, well, a whole lot of procedures that could go wrong. So what happens if you undergo plastic surgery and the physician botches the procedure?
When Plastic Surgery Becomes Medical Malpractice
Surgeons can definitely be held accountable financially and otherwise for cosmetic surgeries gone wrong. If a patient undergoes a procedure and has undesirable results or complications ensue, then that doctor could be held liable as long as negligence can be proven.
Medical malpractice is most successfully litigated when it is obvious that the surgeon was careless and did not acknowledge the patient’s desires. To succeed in your medical malpractice claim, you have to prove certain elements:
- Duty, which is basically the doctors standard duty to deliver a reasonable level of care.
- Breach, which means that the treating physician acted differently than most doctors would in a similar situation.
- Causation, meaning the doctor’s actions directly resulted in your injury, undesirable result or death.
- Damages, which requires the plaintiff to prove physical or emotional injury directly related to the physician’s lack of care.
Plastic surgeons tend to have a team of lawyers on speed dial, so if you find yourself at the hands of an unscrupulous scalpel, a qualified Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer should be your first phone call. It is possible to recover damages for disfigurement, illness or pain, but it’s vital to hire a legal team that is aggressive when fighting for your rights.
Sometimes these cases are settled out of court and never go to trial, but in the event of a trial by jury, you will want a lawyer that is experienced in medical malpractice at your side.
Demanding a Refund
Plastic surgery is expensive and if your procedure did not go the way you intended, it’s possible to be refunded for the cost. More likely, your surgeon will offer to do a revision surgery for free to correct the undesirable results. But sometimes patients are uncomfortable letting a doctor that they now view as incompetent operate on them yet again.
It is the rare occasion that a surgeon offers a refund, but when it does happen, it’s usually in the presence of a lawyer and the patient is required to sign a release stating that they won’t sue the doctor in the future for malpractice.
If you decide to sue, there is a time limit, or statue of limitation, in filing a claim for medical malpractice. The statute of limitations varies and is dependent upon what state you were in when you had the surgery. In Indiana, the time limit is two years. Other states have statutes of limitations out to three years.
Is My Case Viable?
It is true that some juries could potentially be less sympathetic towards someone regarded as vain and getting plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes, but the rule of law stands. Whether you were getting the procedure to achieve a certain beauty standard or because you were injured and needed tissue repair, surgeons have a legal duty to make sure that you are happy with the results and do not come away from the experience physically injured or in pain.