Many victims of medical malpractice may be reluctant to file a lawsuit against a doctor or health care provider. But in many cases, such actions by patients are the only way to ensure a negligent health care provider is held accountable. Florida regulators are often slow to act even against doctors with a history of malpractice complaints. And even when officials do act, they may be blocked by the courts.
South Florida a Haven for “Relatively Cheap” Cosmetic Procedures
For example, on August 16 a state appeals court reversed an “emergency order” issued by the Florida Department of Health issued against a well-known Miami plastic surgeon. The Department has accused the plastic surgeon of “severely injuring” a number of patients during 2015, according to the Miami Herald. Specifically, four female patients between the ages of 29 and 35 were injured during liposuction procedures. The Herald noted that the alleged malpractice included “charges that [the plastic surgeon] used the wrong concentration of a local anesthetic, that he perforated patients’ organs and that he failed to discharge patients to a facility capable of providing appropriate care.”
The plastic surgeon is particularly noted for a cosmetic liposuction procedure where fat is grafted onto a patient’s buttocks. This is commonly known in the media as a “Brazilian butt lift.” The Washington Post, citing statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, noted recently that “butt augmentations using fat grafts” are the “fastest growing” type of cosmetic procedure performed in the United States.
The Post noted that many patients come to Florida to seek these procedures at “relatively cheap” clinics in the Miami area. But there are also concerns that many under-qualified plastic surgeons are performing these types of procedures without taking proper safety precautions. The Post said a 29-year-old woman died of organ failure after a botched butt lift at a Miami clinic that also has ties to the plastic surgeon recently charged by Florida authorities.
In response to multiple complaints, the Department of Health issued an “emergency order” in February restricting the plastic surgeon from performing any further liposuction or fat-graft procedures. The Department said this action was necessary because the plastic surgeon presented an “immediate serious danger” to the public’s health.
But the Florida First District Court of Appeal quashed the Department’s order. The court noted the Department’s February order came nine months after his alleged malpractice, and that he “has not been the subject of any prior disciplinary actions.” Given that, the court determined the emergency restrictions were inappropriate. The plastic surgeon is therefore allowed to resume his practice pending the outcome of an administrative hearing on the merits of the Department’s complaint.
A Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
Even if the Department ultimately succeeds in revoking the plastic surgeon’s medical license, it may come as cold comfort to the victims and their families. The Herald said the doctor chose not to carry medical malpractice insurance—a practice permitted under Florida law—which could limit victims’ ability to recover damages in any civil lawsuits.
If you have been injured due to a plastic surgeon’s negligence, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Clearwater medical malpractice attorney right away. Contact the Law Office of Paul B. Genet, P.A., at (727) 538-8865 if you require immediate legal assistance.