Errors in Liposuction procedure cases on the rise

By Greg Kohn

With America facing an obesity epidemic and the constant desire for people to be thin, shed some extra fat quickly or to perfect themselves, plastic surgeons particularly those who perform liposuction procedures are becoming more popular.

Despite the allure of liposuction, New Jersey residents contemplating the procedure may find it interesting to know that a professor in anesthesiology and neurological surgery who analyzed a closed claims database for medical malpractice claims involving anesthesiologists who provided care for liposuction found out that out of the nearly 9,500 cases, 18 were related to liposuction. Out of the 18, eight died and 1 sustained permanent brain damage.

In general, the causes of the injuries related to the procedure were identified as anesthetic errors such as anesthetic toxicity, medication errors, Streptococcus infections, airway obstruction, intubation errors and more.

In another study where a medical consultant in Los Angeles analyzed death records found that since 1996-2010, nine deaths were identified as those from liposuction procedures. In these cases, the procedure was not performed at a hospital but in office based setting and outpatient surgical units. Either general anesthesia or sedation was used and less than half had all the required monitors. Further, some of the doctors performing these procedures are not board certified plastic surgeons and are not monitored by regulatory agencies.

In general, healthcare providers, regardless of whether a procedure is elective or non-elective, have an on-going duty to provide a reasonable standard of care. If they fail to do so and the patient is harmed by their inaction or wrong action, the healthcare provider may be found negligent and be held responsible for damages. From the studies above it is clear that liposuction carries numerous risks. It is important for a patient to be informed about the procedure and associated risks.

Injured parties, or their families, may be able to recover future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, funeral expenses, pain and suffering and more. Contact our firm today!

Source: Anesthesiology News, “As Liposuction Deaths Mount, Study Exposes Cracks in Safety,” Michael Vlessides, Oct. 11, 2012

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.