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Cosmetic Surgery Medical Malpractice: When a Procedure Goes Wrong

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When an individual undergoes cosmetic surgery, they are putting their full confidence in the provider. Not only is there an expectation that the procedure will be performed to their liking, but most important, that the surgeon will operate with the utmost care and precision.

So, when the outcome is a devastating, botched procedure, it's easy to fill overwhelmed and helpless. However, when a physician is operating with negligence, it is just the opposite.

Cosmetic Surgery Medical Malpractice

It's important to understand what cosmetic surgery medical malpractice is and what it is not. At the base level, to prove a claim, you must show there was a breach in the medical standard of care. For example, would the surgeon's efforts be on par with other skilled cosmetic surgeons under the same circumstance?

For example, a breach claim may be valid if the patient was left with one breast noticeably larger than the other; however, a breach requirement may not be satisfied if the patient is dissatisfied with their breast size, especially if it's the size they requested. There also needs to be proof of harm caused to the patient, such as disfigurement, infection, paralysis or scaring.

The effects of malpractice don't have to manifest in physical form, but tangible proof of negative impact is required for a successful claim. A non-cosmetic licensed surgeon performing the procedure, a failure to properly collect the medical history of the patient or a procedure performed in an under-equipped facility may also help establish a case for malpractice.

Damages

The state of Texas separates damages caused by medical malpractice into two categories; economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include financial harm caused to the patient. A significant portion of this damage comes in the form of medical bills. All expenses for current and future medical care necessary as a result of the botched procedure is figured into this calculation.

If you were forced to take off extra time from work as part of your recovery or the effects of the procedure will impact your future earning potential, this amount is also calculated.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those that don't have a specific dollar value and typically includes factors like pain and suffering and wrongful death. Pain and suffering cover the mental and emotional effects that the botched procedure has had on the patient and wrongful death covers instances when the negligence of the surgeon lead to the death of the patient.

The state of Texas places restrictions on payment for non-economic damages at $250,000 when a single provider or healthcare facility is sued and $500,00 when there is more than one plaintiff.

For economic and non-economic damages alike, you have two years to file a claim in the state of Texas.

Potential Challenges

It's important to mention that the complexity of cosmetic surgery medical malpractices claims doesn't end with establishing a claim. Plaintiffs can face challenges throughout the case. A significant hurdle you could face is the fact that the surgery was voluntary. When an operation is mandatory, a juror may look at the claimant as a helpless victim.

However, with cosmetic procedures, the jury may conclude that since you wanted the surgery, you simply can't blame the surgeon when things didn't go the way you wanted them to. For this reason, it's vital that your case is solid.

Whether it's a mandatory procedure or an elective one, it is the responsibility of a physician to operate with care. If you or a loved one is suffering from a botched procedure, you can take action. Someone will be happy to discuss your case with you.