Understanding the Legal Risks of Plastic Surgery in Florida

Plastic surgery is big business in Florida and throughout the country. According to the most recent figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than 1.7 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2015. And while most plastic surgery is safe and non-invasive, when something does go wrong and there is medical malpractice, Florida patients may find the law does not fully protect them.

Jacksonville Plastic Surgeons Face Hundreds of Malpractice Lawsuits

Breast augmentation is the most common type of cosmetic surgery according to the ASPS, accounting for approximately 279,000 procedures in 2015. But when not performed correctly, breast augmentation can have devastating long-term consequences for patients. For example, more than 160 women who were patients of a father-and-son plastic surgeon team in Jacksonville have come forward to claim they were victims of improperly performed breast augmentation procedures.

According to the Florida Times-Union, three women filed medical malpractice lawsuits last year, alleging the surgeons “disfigured their breasts and caused burning pain they still live with.” Within weeks, the Times-Union said that “10 more women shared nearly identical experiences with the newspaper,” and approximately 140 other former patients contacted the medical malpractice attorney who filed the first three cases. As of June 1 of this year, nearly 150 patients were in the process of preparing medical malpractice cases against the surgeons.

Florida Legislators Gut Protections for Plastic Surgery Clinic Patients

Plastic surgeons, particularly those who perform most of their procedures in-office, are not as tightly regulated in Florida as other medical providers. The Miami Herald noted in a recent report that due to a “loophole” in state law, the Florida Board of Medicine was unable to shut down a plastic surgery clinic in Hialeah after a liposuction patient died. While “Florida strictly regulated outpatient surgery centers” until 2007, the Herald noted that the state legislature, bowing to pressure from the medical industry, has “chipped away at regulations governing office surgeries by physicians and also stripped away many consumer protections.”

In many cases, plastic surgery clinics require upfront payment and do not accept health insurance. This means they do not have to undergo the same licensing and accreditation process as hospitals and medical facilities that do accept insurance. Florida also does not require doctors to carry malpractice insurance, meaning that even if a patient does successfully sue a negligent practitioner, there is no guarantee he or she will ever collect a dime.

Get Help From a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney

Although breast augmentation and similar cosmetic procedures are marketed as low-risk, any type of surgery is dangerous when a physician is negligent and fails to follow proper safety protocols. If you have experienced complications following plastic surgery, you should not hesitate to assert your legal rights. An experienced Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer can assist you at all stages of the legal process, from conducting a pre-suit investigation to presenting your case to the jury. Contact the Law Office of Paul B. Genet, P.A., at (727) 538-8865 to speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney right away.

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