When someone goes in for breast augmentation surgery, the last thing he or she will want is to have an injury as a result. The goal is to have shapelier breasts that are often increased in size.
However, there are risks associated with this type of procedure, just like with any medical procedure. If someone did not get the results he or she was looking for in the surgery, it could be the result of malpractice. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who knows the court system to be certain if malpractice took place.
That way, he or she can determine if there was an error that resulted in medical malpractice.
Types of Breast Alteration Procedures
Many procedures can alter the look or the shape of the breast, nearly all of which are considered elective cosmetic surgery. Here are some of the most common procedures and what they are supposed to provide:
This is when the skin above a breast is shortened, leaving less sag of the breast tissue when the procedure is healed and complete. The goal of this procedure is to make the breaks perkier and younger-looking.
This is when an implant is placed inside the breast of the patient. The goal of this procedure is to increase the size of the breast, and it is often used for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes.
This is often done after a mastectomy or a similar procedure that removed some of the breast tissue.
This type of procedure is for placing breast implants in a person who does not normally have breast tissue, and it is often done as part of reassignment surgery.
For all types of augmentation procedures, many criteria go into the choice of what procedure to pick and what the patient wants as a result. Each decision plays a factor in what type of malpractice risk the patient has.
The patient needs to decide on the size of breast implant or filler to be used, if the look should be extravagant or natural, if the filler should be saline or silicone, what type of scar the patient wants to live with when the procedure is done, and what shape the patient decides he or she wants as the end result.
What Is the Plastic Surgeon Expected to Do?
While many cosmetic procedures are elective procedures, there is still a reasonable amount of care that should be given to patients. The standard is not lowered simply because the person chose to alter his or her body.
If the plastic surgeon does something before, during, or after a procedure that does not live up to the proper level of care, then the result is quite possibly medical malpractice.
The ”standard of care” is the term for the type of care the surgeon and his or her team should offer. This is the level of care that anyone coming in for plastic surgery has the reasonable right to expect. No matter what health care provider is treating the patient, the level of care should be relatively close to the same. If the care is substandard, this is when mistakes become a malpractice claim.
Injuries That Qualify as Malpractice
Many of the plastic surgery procedures that a surgeon can perform are relatively low risk. However, that does not mean that something could not go wrong. Here are some of the most common injuries that happen because of cosmetic surgery:
- The surgeon, or his or her team, not recognizing the signs of distress or the declining condition of the patient
- Cutting too deeply into a patient and harming his or her organs or other body parts
- Making an incision that is too long, leaving unnecessary scarring behind
- Damaging nerves during the procedure and leaving an area numb when surgery is complete
- Leaving the wrong surgical supplies behind when the procedure is complete
- Nicking a breast implant during placement or adjustment and leaving the leaking implant inside the patient
- Not noticing the signs of an infection during a postoperative checkup
- Doing the wrong procedure on a patient or doing the right procedure but on the wrong portion of the body
When Does a Mistake Become Medical Malpractice?
If a mistake is not significant, it likely will not result in a medical malpractice claim. However, if the personal injury is significant or has altered the life of a patient in a significant way, then a claim could be filed. If the injured party can prove these things in court, most states will allow the medical malpractice cases to be heard:
- There was a working relationship between the injured party and the accused person
- The injured party had reasonable expectations of care
- What the most reasonable level of care should have been
- The accused did not perform up to that level of care
- The substandard care directly caused the injury or problem that is the basis of the lawsuit
Filing a Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice
If the injured party believes that he or she can prove these things in court, then the advice of a local attorney or law firm should be sought out. He or she will be able to look over the facts of the case to determine if there was, in fact, enough malpractice to lead to a lawsuit. The attorney should be experienced in the field of malpractice in order to decide if there is a case.
The injured party should make sure to take the time to find the right attorney to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. That way, he or she has the best chance possible of getting some type of compensation or settlement at the end. Here are some questions to ask when speaking to an attorney to determine if he or she is competent enough to take the case:
- Does the attorney understand what happened, and could this person explain it to a courtroom full of people in a way that those people would understand it?
- How much experience does the attorney have at these sorts of injury cases? What was the result of the last case he or she did on this topic?
- What is the attorney’s best guess as to what type of resolution this case would get if it went to court?
- Was the medical mistake significant enough to warrant a case and any type of compensation in the end? If not, then what is missing that could help the case?
- If this injury happens to the spouse of the attorney, will the attorney consider prosecuting that case? Why or why not?
Many people seek out breast augmentation procedures daily, all around the world. The procedures do not always go as planned, however. Sometimes a breast implant may leak, move, or break. Other times, the pain that is a result of the surgery is not something the injured party can bear. If something went wrong, the advice of an experienced attorney should be sought. It allows the injured party to know that there are options out there to make the situation better. No one needs to live with an injury caused by any type of doctor, and there are medical malpractice cases for that exact reason.