When cosmetic surgery goes wrong: pursuing a clinical negligence claim

Mon 15th Jun 2020

Julie Hatton, Partner and Law Society accredited clinical negligence specialist at Coodes Solicitors says the firm is handling a growing number of claims from people following cosmetic surgery.

According to statistics from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, more than 28,000 people a year undergo cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK. The majority of treatments (92 percent) are carried out on women, with breast augmentation and breast reduction being the most common.

The UK cosmetic surgery market boomed in the early 2000s, with a five-fold increase in treatments carried out between 2003 and 2015. While the reasons for this dramatic rise are not clear, I believe it is largely the result of treatments becoming cheaper, more readily available and better publicised.

These figures reflect what we are seeing here at Coodes. Our Clinical Negligence team is receiving growing numbers of enquiries from individuals who have had cosmetic surgery and are unhappy with their treatment. We are now helping many of these people to get compensation.

Do your research before undergoing treatment

Any surgical treatment carries risks and cosmetic procedures are no different. The decision to undergo treatment should not be rushed and it is important to take the time to consider your options and carry out research. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons has a useful checklist for anyone considering undergoing cosmetic surgery, including ensuring that the surgeon holds the right professional credentials.

The added risks of cosmetic surgery abroad

Given the potential cost savings, it is perhaps not surprising that many people opt to travel abroad for cosmetic surgery procedures. However, this is not a decision that should be entered into without serious thought and consideration.

In recent years, a number of news stories have highlighted the added risk of undergoing such treatments in a different country. Healthcare standards vary across the world, while language barriers and gaps in aftercare can all increase the chances of problems occurring. The NHS advises how to mitigate against these risks here.

Who is responsible when cosmetic surgery goes wrong?

While thorough consideration and research can reduce the risks, there is unfortunately still the potential for things to go wrong. When a patient suffers negligent care during a cosmetic procedure it can be difficult to apportion blame.

In most clinical negligence cases, we would support our clients to make a claim against a hospital or healthcare trust. However, the situation is often more complex with cosmetic surgery cases. That is because many of these treatments are carried out by private surgeons who have simply rented the space from a private hospital. In these instances, the surgeon has no supervision from the hospital and the healthcare provider will generally deny any responsibility for private surgeons’ mistakes or negligence. You will need the advice of a very experienced clinical negligence solicitor to pursue compensation on your behalf.

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, it is important to be aware of these complexities around private hospital insurance, as well as doing all you can to reduce the risks of undergoing a surgical procedure.

For more information and advice on this issue from Coodes Solicitors, contact Julie Hatton in the Clinical Negligence team on 01326 214 036 or julie.hatton@coodes.co.uk.

Mon 15th Jun 2020

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