Be­ware the risks of cos­metic surgery

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - All copy pro­vided by Turner Free­man lawyers; turn­er­free­mannsw.com.au

THE sec­ond case this year of a woman rushed to hos­pi­tal af­ter suf­fer­ing a car­diac ar­rest while un­der­go­ing breast aug­men­ta­tion surgery in a Syd­ney clinic has high­lighted the se­ri­ous risks in­volved with cos­metic surgery.

Other women have come for­ward with hor­ror sto­ries in­volv­ing cos­metic treat­ments per­formed at the clinic, with re­ports of per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment, on­go­ing pain and sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tional costs to rec­tify prob­lems.

The NSW Health Care Com­plaints Com­mis­sion is re­port­edly in­ves­ti­gat­ing con­cerns that the car­diac ar­rests may have been the re­sult of in­ap­pro­pri­ate anaes­thetic use.

Un­der cur­rent laws, there is no re­quire­ment for the peo­ple car­ry­ing out cos­metic pro­ce­dures to have spe­cial­ist train­ing in per­form­ing in- va­sive sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures, mean­ing they may have no more train­ing than a gen­eral med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner.

This dif­fer­ence in train­ing can re­sult in a dis­tinct dif­fer­ence in the skill and ex­per­tise be­tween those prac­tis­ing cos­metic medicine and those un­der­tak­ing plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive surgery, which re­quires spe­cial­ist post­grad­u­ate train­ing.

Cos­metic pro­ce­dures can carry the same se­ri­ous risks as any other surgery, in­clud­ing po­ten­tially fa­tal re­ac­tions to anaes­the­sia or post­op­er­a­tive com­pli­ca­tions.

Yet a re­cent sur­vey found more than a quar­ter of Aus­tralians who had un­der­gone cos­metic pro­ce­dures had not checked their doc­tor’s train­ing or qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

If the surgery does go wrong, and a pa­tient suf­fers an avoid­able in­jury, they may have le­gal re­course.

Com­pen­sa­tion may be avail­able for pain and suf­fer­ing, psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age, the costs of fu­ture rec­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures, and any as­so­ci­ated loss of earn­ings.

These rights can arise from de­fi­cient med­i­cal ad­vice, a fail­ure to prop­erly ob­tain con­sent about a pro­ce­dure, or a fail­ure to ap­pro­pri­ately warn of po­ten­tial risks.

They can also re­sult where sur­gi­cal tech­niques don’t meet the stan­dard or qual­ity of ser­vice the pa­tient could rea­son­ably ex­pect to re­ceive.

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