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Unlike traditional surgery, cosmetic surgery is largely aesthetic and is performed for the purpose of improving a person’s appearance. Whilst we may be familiar with certain types of cosmetic surgery such as plastic surgery, breast implants, liposuction and the revision of scars, cosmetic surgery also includes the following:
It is now common knowledge that if you have been injured (physically or psychologically) in an accident that was not your fault then you could be entitled to bring a compensation claim against the negligent party where that party owed you a duty of care. This duty of care places an obligation on one party to act with sufficient care to ensure that the other party’s health and safety is not at risk and extends to medical professionals including cosmetic surgeons and their medical team.
As cosmetic surgery becomes more common so does cosmetic surgery negligence. Surgeons have a professional duty, as with other types of clinical care to assess the risks of cosmetic surgery including whether or not it is safe to perform the surgery and a prudent surgeon will have more than one consultation with the patient before carrying out the surgery. The purpose of the consultation is for the surgeon to find out the patients objectives and to explain the procedure but also to
advise the patient of any risks involved so that the patient can make an informed decision.
The types of injuries than can flow from cosmetic surgery negligence vary from minor scars and infections to disfigurement, amputation and in extreme circumstances can lead to death. The negligence can also extend to poor after care. The reasons for the negligence can vary equally from failing to obtain the patient’s medical history to not performing the operation in a safe and sterile environment.
A patient can be held contributory negligence i.e. be held partly responsible for his or her injuries due to the patient’s own negligence. This means that whilst the patient can still make a claim for compensation the amount of compensation that is
likely to be awarded will be reduced to take into account the degree of the patient’s own negligence.
Contributory negligence can be avoided by ensuring that your medical history is truthfully disclosed to the surgeon from allergies to smoking. This might sound unusual but it is not unheard of for patients to hide medical details to ensure that they are not denied access to cosmetic surgery. Patients should also ensure that the surgeon carrying out the procedure is registered with and regulated by the General Medical Council.
In order to make a cosmetic surgery negligence claim a claimant will have to establish that the standard to care provided by the medical establishment fell below that of the reasonable standard that would be expected of a competent medical professional.
Making a Claim
If you feel you should make a claim for cosmetic surgery negligence then you should ensure that you do so within three years of the date of the surgeon’s negligence otherwise you will be barred from doing so under the statute of limitation.
The amount of compensation you could be awarded following a cosmetic surgery negligence claim will vary depending on the seriousness of the injury and will be calculated in line with government guidelines and previously decided cases (case law). Some examples of possible personal injury compensation can be found here.
In addition to the compensation for any physical or psychological injuries a claimant can also make a claim for consequential loss such as medical bills, care costs, travel expenses, loss of income and any other reasonably foreseeable loss that flows as a direct result of the cosmetic surgery negligence