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Cosmetic Medical Procedures: Defending Against Malpractice Claims

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the vast majority of medical malpractice claims made against practitioners arise from the aesthetic and elective component of practice. While this can be frustratingly-subjective for both new and experienced cosmetic surgeons, a Westchester County personal injury lawyer can help combat against these allegations and preserve hard-earned reputations in the process.

What’s more, our attorneys can help work through malpractice allegations involving non-elective reconstructive procedures and other serious contentions by patients claiming a deviation from practice standards.

Legal Practice Standards in Cosmetic Surgery

Medical malpractice is a legal term referring to a doctor’s departure from accepted medical standards within his or her specific industry. More specifically, a cosmetic surgeon may face liability for failing to use a “reasonable degree of skill, learning, and care” expected within the cosmetic surgery field.

Historically, doctors were held to a standard of care congruent with practices within their particular community. In other words, small town doctors were held to one standard, while urban doctors held to another.

Under today’s modern standards, however, all cosmetic surgeons are expected to adhere to the same standard of care, which requires regular continuing education and a dedication to keeping abreast of changes in the cosmetic surgery field.

Practical Considerations for the Cosmetic Surgery Practitioner

The legal framework for medical malpractice may be difficult to follow at first, but implementing routine practice procedures to avoid potential liability can be a preventative way to avoid unnecessary exposure.

For instance, cosmetic surgeons providing up-front, honest and clear communication about what a patient can expect from a procedure beforehand can help manage expectations afterwards. Many practitioners utilize digital software and imaging technologies to project the likely “after” pictures to patients considering various elective procedures.

Along these same lines, informed consent is the hallmark of a comprehensive liability-avoidance plan. Informed consent involves clear and thorough communication of both the risks and benefits of a procedure, explained in a way that an adult patient can understand and make a fully-informed decision.

In some cases, practitioners who omit the possibility of certain risks face lawsuits from plaintiffs who experience unexpected side effects – effects that are so severe the patient would not have elected the surgery in the first place. Of course, informed consent should always be reduced to writing with both physician and patient signatures clearly in place.

Lastly, the ASPS recommends implementing a degree of patient selection criteria, primarily focusing on avoiding those patients with a strong risk for litigation. Patients with whom the practitioner feels uncomfortable or those who routinely “surgeon shop” for elective procedures are more likely to cause conflict, while those with strong motivations for the procedure, clearly-communicated goals and realistic expectations are more likely to experience satisfaction with their procedure.

Contact Lynch Schwab Gasparini for Malpractice Defense Today!

If you are facing a malpractice claim from a former patient, or are interested in learning ways to avoid malpractice in the future, please contact the personal injury lawyers of Lynch Schwab Gasparini today by calling (914) 304-4353.

Posted on April 22, 2015 in Personal Injury