Plastic Surgery- How do I know if I have a case?
Often we are called upon to respond to complaints by patients who have undergone plastic surgery or a cosmetic procedure where the outcome has not fulfilled their expectations. The enquiry concerns any claim that may be available to the patient in negligence as against the doctor or healthcare provider concerned for the purpose of recovering damages.
The prosecution of a claim in negligence as against a plastic or cosmetic surgeon does not differ in substance to what needs to be proven in any other negligence claim against a professional. The provisions of Section 5O of the Civil Liability Act apply and need to be satisfied in order for a patient to successfully prosecute a claim as against a plastic or cosmetic surgeon.
In essence, the provisions of Section 5O are:
- A professional does not incur a liability in negligence arising from the provision of a professional service if it is established that the professional acted in a manner that was widely accepted in Australia by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice.
- The fact that there are differing peer professional opinions does not prevent any or more of those opinions being relied upon.
- Peer professional opinion does not have to be universally accepted to be considered widely accepted.
Accordingly, if it is established by the plastic or cosmetic surgeon that if they have acted in a manner that is widely accepted by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice, then they will not be held liable in negligence for any adverse or unfortunate outcome from the procedure or treatment provided.
I have often said that the mere fact that a patient is dissatisfied with the outcome of a medical procedure or treatment provided is not in itself sufficient to establish liability in negligence against a treating healthcare professional. Never is this more true than when dealing with complaints against a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. The success or otherwise of the procedure undertaken or treatment provided by a plastic or cosmetic surgeon is adjudged by the individual. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, the individual’s assessment as to the success or otherwise of the outcome from the medical procedure or treatment provided may differ significantly to the assessment of the plastic or cosmetic surgeon or in fact any other person.
However should there be expert evidence available to establish negligence on the part of the plastic or cosmetic surgeon then the patient would be entitled to recover damages for the losses suffered. This would include:
- Non-economic loss (general damages for pain and suffering)
- Past and future medical treatment expenses
- Past and future economical wage loss
- A contribution towards legal costs.
Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the prosecution of all medical negligence claims including claims against plastic or cosmetic surgeons. Strict time limits apply to the making of such a claim so if there is cause for concern following a medical procedure or treatment provided by a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, contact Brydens Lawyers without delay on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au
At Brydens Lawyers – #WE DO plastic and cosmetic surgery claims.