Beware the risks of cosmetic surgery
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.