Many people believe liposuction to be a safe cosmetic procedure. However, doctors who perform the procedure and people who compare statistics show it to be one of the most dangerous forms of plastic surgery. Many things can go wrong during this procedure, and those things can lead to injuries that people may never be able to recover from fully. For anyone who has sustained an injury from this procedure or as a result of this procedure, malpractice claims could provide financial restitution for the damage. The only way to truly know if a malpractice lawsuit is applicable is by asking an experienced medical malpractice attorney to investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury.
What Happens During Liposuction Surgery?
The process of liposuction, or lipo, as many call it, is simple. A small incision is made where the procedure is to take place, and the tools are placed into the body with the goal of breaking up clumps of fat under the skin. Once the fat is broken up, the suction tool, called a cannula, goes under the skin and pulls the fat pieces out. This is in hopes of getting a smoother appearance under the skin once swelling fades. The procedure should leave the patient with sleeker and smoother skin than when the procedure started.
The problem is, the hollow tool that goes in and breaks up the fat has a sharp edge to it. If it is misused or if the surgeon is not experienced in the procedure, it can lead to perforations in the patient’s body that were never meant to be there. This could mean holes in the organs, perforations in the skin, or even cutting veins or arteries and internal bleeding. This can lead to lifelong pain or problems instead of giving the patient a smoother appearance.
It is one of the most common types of cosmetic surgery that happens annually, with more than 350,000 people electing to have it done. The most common areas of the body include:
- Upper Arms
- Backs of the Arms
If something goes wrong during the procedure, it could turn into a case of medical malpractice. However, if it does or does not depends on the circumstances surrounding what went wrong.
How Can Liposuction Procedures Become Medical Malpractice?
A simple cosmetic procedure could turn into a malpractice case for several reasons. It all depends on the treatment of the patient. The injured party would need to prove several things before deciding if the court is the next step. These include:
- A Relationship: The doctor or accused should have some form of relationship with the injured party. This should be something that can be proven to a court’s standards.
- Level of Care: The injured party needs to show what level of care was reasonable when considering the circumstances at the time. This is called the standard of care.
- Substandard Care: The injured party will also need to prove that the care he or she received was not up to those standards.
- A Connection to the Injury: The injured party will have to provide proof that the health care provider was directly or indirectly at fault for the injury. There needs to be a paper trail, of sorts, that shows that an action or inaction from the accused led to the injury sustained by the plaintiff.
Most states have some form of case evaluation that allows health care professionals to look at the case to see what type of merit it has. During the evaluation, the panel will want proof of these things to show that there is a cause for the filing of the case. If these things cannot be proven, most evaluations will recommend the case go no further. Some cases bypass this evaluation when a lawsuit is filed for wrongful death by a loved one since the injured party cannot file on his or her behalf.
In some states, this determination is binding, while in other states, it is simply a recommendation. There are only two ways to know what the exact rules are for a state. One is by researching it. The other, and for a better answer, is to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer with experience in the state.
Who Is Responsible in Liposuction Malpractice Cases?
In nearly all cases of malpractice that involve liposuction, the plastic surgeons performing the procedure are the ones listed at fault. However, they are not the only ones who can be held responsible. It all depends on the injury and what was going on at the time. Others who could be included in medical malpractice cases include:
- Nurses who were there during the procedure
- Nurses who were responsible for care before or after the procedure
- The anesthesiologist who was helping monitor the patient during the procedure
- Any medical professional who gave the wrong medication or performed the wrong test
- The suite or hospital where the procedure was performed
Determining If a Medical Malpractice Claim Is the Right Choice
Professionals are recommended for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. Trying to go into court without the help of a lawyer or law firm is going to significantly reduce the chances of the court taking the case seriously. This means little or no compensation for injuries that stem from medical negligence. It is also up to these professionals to look at a case and decide if there is enough evidence to go through the evaluation and possible trial.
Not all cases are going to wind up in court. At times, a medical accident is simply a tragic, unfortunate accident. Other times, there is no evidence to back up a claim of malpractice, even if it may appear obvious that a mistake did occur. However, when there is cause to file the lawsuit, an experienced professional will know this and be able to offer guidance and direction to help the case move forward. From there, the process of gathering the evidence and statements from witnesses will begin.
Liposuction may not be as safe as it appears on the surface. There are many ways it could lead to a personal injury or even death if it is not done correctly. Between the risks of an unskilled surgeon, the sharp tools required to do the procedure, the instances of perforated organs, and the high risk of infection, this procedure has a high possibility of something going wrong. Turning to an experienced attorney may be the best thing to do for anyone who has faced an injury at the hands of a medical professional who specializes in liposuction. It can help the injured party receive proper compensation to help cover expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. No one should live with an injury at the hands of a healthcare professional. However, if it does happen, the injured party can take some steps to make the recovery process more manageable.