Cosmetic surgery is a lucrative specialty for plastic surgeons and other medical providers, both in Oregon and nationwide. Although it sometimes involves aesthetic procedures without an associated medical need, that fact does not excuse the doctor from the duty to provide the same competent level of care, free of surgical error or other negligence, that is given to all patients. The doctor is under the same duty as with any other patient to make sure that there are no underlying weaknesses or complications that would make the intended surgery dangerous or medically inappropriate.
If a patient should insist on a risky elective procedure, full disclosure must be made and the patient must sign a release taking full responsibility for the decision to go forward. This will assure that it is the patient's and not the doctor's choice to proceed. Furthermore, where a doctor goes ahead with elective plastic surgery without discussing the medical risk factors with the patient, the doctor may be liable for damages if an elective procedure has a bad outcome.
The foregoing principles apply to elective procedures like breast augmentation. In one recent case, a female patient filed a malpractice claim against a surgeon for allegedly defective and negligent treatment regarding the client's breast augmentation surgery. One of the claims is that the surgeon neglected to inform the patient of the risks of the procedure.
The complaint also alleges that the doctor was negligent in deciding to perform the surgery and carelessly failed to provide proper follow-up care after the surgery. The patient allegedly complained of complications after the surgery but the surgeon responded inadequately to her requests for help. In particular, the plaintiff claims that the doctor negligently treated the patient's problems regarding lack of healing of the wounds.
The complaint also contains allegations that the doctor acted willfully, wantonly and in reckless disregard of the patient's medical needs. In Oregon and all other jurisdictions, that type of wording typically accompanies a claim for punitive damages. This is the seventh lawsuit for surgical error or other malpractice against the same doctor in the past eight years.
Source: wvrecord.com, "Lincoln Co. woman accuses Huntington surgeon of medical malpractice", Kyla Asbury, Aug. 10, 2015