December 31, 2011 – Many doctors have expanded their practices to provide cosmetic surgery procedures in response to a growing demand from patients as well as a decrease in insurance payouts. While insurance companies and hospitals typically prohibit doctors from practicing outside of their specialties, only 21 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, require licensing and/or accreditation of offices where surgery is performed.
Patients have suffered deaths and injuries — especially from liposuction — because of the increase in office-based cosmetic surgery. Many state boards are starting to address the growing issue of what some call “practice drift” — physicians working outside of the areas in which they’re trained and board certified. Some states have adopted statutes, rules, policies and/or guidelines to help regulate the surgery. According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, these changes focus on increasing safety during procedures by means that include having enough trained personnel and “adequate malpractice insurance.”
In North Carolina, the state medical board indefinitely suspended the license of an ear, nose and throat surgeon after numerous complaints from women who received “substandard” cosmetic surgery procedures and other evidence he was unfit to practice, according to the board’s consent order. Additionally, three patients died after having cosmetic surgery at the office of a former Phoenix emergency room doctor. The doctor was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison in September.
If you are considering cosmetic surgery, here are a few helpful suggestions:
The personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Messa and Associates have represented individuals in many cases involving injuries sustained as a result of medical errors. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death due to a medical error resulting from a cosmetic procedure, please call us at 1-877-MessaLaw.