Every Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm is well-versed in the variety of ways that medical negligence can affect the lives of unsuspecting victims. One practice area where negligent medical care seems to occur with particularly frequency is in cosmetic surgery. Horrific cases of permanent scarring and life-altering complications continue to be reported involving plastic surgeons who fail to act properly in performing these operations. Many times the doctors who commit the medical malpractice are allowed to keep practicing, hurting more and more patients before they are actually held accountable for their conduct.
For example, the Huffington Post reported yesterday on the case of one surgeon who was suspended only after a staggering 40 different medical malpractice suits were filed against him for botching cosmetic operations. It is likely that he erred in many other cases as well which never resulted in a lawsuit. The list of victims of this one negligent doctor is long, and the consequences are varied, from giant scars and blood loss to reduced vision and chronic pain.
Our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys know that plastic surgery mistakes occur far to often occurrences across the country. What makes this particular situation so troubling is how long it took medical oversight bodies to take action. There are reports on file about this doctor with the state’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct from nearly nine years ago. However, nothing was done to protect patients until this month. It was only now, after thousands of new patients were exposed to the risk of his practice, that his license was suspended while it was noted that his work “constitutes an imminent danger to health of the people of this state.”
Just this week the Chicago Tribune published a story warning local residents about the risk of Chicago medical malpractice occurring in local cosmetic surgery facilities. The story included a list of tips to help consumers make smart choices about who they decide to perform these operations.
Some of the highlights:
1) Use the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website to learn if the doctor has a surgical background. It is one thing to have a medical license it is another to have experience, special training, and certification in these operations. At the same time, the website should provide information on whether or not the doctor has any recent malpractice or disciplinary judgments.
2) Ask the doctor questions to explain how often he or she performs the procedure. Also ask for more information, such as before and after pictures and the ability to speak to former patients.
3) Probe the doctor for a list of potential complications that could be caused by the operation and the ways that the doctor would treat those complications if they arose in your case.
4) Learn if the doctor is affiliated with any local hospital or clinic.
5) The thoroughness of the doctor’s preparations before the operation is a good indication of the quality of work that will be performed. For example, a detailed health care evaluation should be performed before any work is done. If you are lined up for surgery and you do not think that the evaluation has actually occurred, then it may be a big red flag that the practices of the doctor are not up to current standards.
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