Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Malpractice in Florida

Cosmetic surgery is elective surgery, generally for the purpose of changing a person’s looks. Surgery to remove significant scarring or to repair a deviated septum would not generally be considered cosmetic surgery, as they are repairing some part of the body that is damaged or not working properly. 

Examples of cosmetic surgery include:

  • face lift, neck lift
  • eyelid lift (unless medically necessary due to vision obstruction)
  • rhinoplasty, i.e. “nose job” (unless medically necessary for breathing)
  • liposuction
  • breast augmentation/reduction (unless medically recommended)
  • tummy tuck
  • spa treatments such as Botox or lip injections or fillers, laser hair removal, skin peels 

Florida law governing malpractice

In order to have a medical malpractice case, you must be able to demonstrate negligence. The “4Ds” must be proven in any personal injury case – duty, dereliction of duty, direct or proximate cause, and damage – but for medical cases, it applies as follows:

  • Duty: The medical provider had the duty to provide care, which is to say that there is an established patient-doctor relationship
  • Dereliction of that duty: The physician or medical provider failed to follow standards of acceptable medical practice, such that another competent and prudent medical provider would follow
  • Direct or proximate cause: The injury is directly or closely connected to the medical negligence
  • Damages: There is a clear injury for which the patient can seek compensation 

Ways cosmetic surgery can go wrong

While cosmetic surgery is elective, the doctor is still expected to uphold an appropriate standard of care, be board-certified and licensed, and have sufficient credentials and experience to perform the surgery. But even an experienced, credentialed doctor can be negligent. Some examples of negligence include:

  • Failure to obtain full medical history or to follow that medical history (ex. allergy to certain medication or latex)
  • Failure to obtain full informed consent (not informing the patient of all possible risks, side effects, or long-term effects; performing the procedure contrary to how it was described to the patient)
  • Surgical errors (leaving medical materials inside the body; operating on the wrong body part; poorly performed surgery that causes damage; wrong administration of anesthesia or medications)
  • Defective medical products 

Mistakes in cosmetic surgery can lead to:

  • Severe scarring
  • Post-surgery infection
  • Nerve damage, muscle damage, tissue damage
  • Damage to organs
  • Disfigurement
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Skin discoloration, swelling, and bruising that does not diminish over time
  • Disability or death 

Getting compensation for your pain

You need a highly-experienced medical malpractice attorney, especially for elective cosmetic surgery cases. If your attorney does not know how to argue the case with powerful evidence of negligence and gain sympathy for you from the jury and judge, you may not receive a significant enough award, because unintentional bias against cosmetic surgery can lessen sympathy for the victim. That said, most cases are settled out of court, so you also need an attorney who knows how to negotiate.

As an experienced personal injury attorney, I believe in “fighting for the rights of the little guy” against the highly-lucrative businesses, insurance companies, and medical institutions that have the financial resources to squash your efforts to recover damages due to negligent behavior or faulty products. 

Contact me at (954) 448-7288, 24/7 for a free consultation to see how I can help you.

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