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Does Medical Malpractice Apply in Elective Procedures and Surgeries?

by David Zevan on Jul. 08, 2014

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: An elective procedure or surgery is one that is not necessitated by any medical emergency. They are typically those procedures that are meant to improve appearance. Nose jobs, face lifts and even bariatric or gastric bypass surgery all fall into this category.

Elective and plastic surgery malpractice is something that causes thousands to be injured or lose their lives each year.  Growing in popularity are weight loss procedures, such as bariatric surgery or gastric bypass.  These are more invasive than most elective surgeries and carry a higher risk of harm.  Despite them not being medically necessary, the surgeon performing the operation still has a duty to see that you receive the best medical care possible.  If you have elected to have a weight loss surgery and something went terribly wrong, a St. Louis medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you receive compensation.

When exercise and diet fail to help people combat obesity, many often turn to bariatric surgery as a solution.  The idea is to restrict the amount of food an individual can consume at one time by banding the stomach, making a person feel fuller faster.  It also inhibits the amount of food being absorbed allowing the individual to lose weight more rapidly.

While most gastric bypass surgeries are now done using lasers, there are still some instances where the patient will benefit more from the riskier open approach.  This was the case of a Missouri woman who chose bariatric surgery to help combat her obesity.  She suffered a bowel rupture during her surgery, which is a common complication that in this case went unnoticed by the surgeon.  Residents left in charge of the patients post op care failed to detect the symptoms of such a rupture, resulting in sepsis. This is a serious blood complication that can occur with any type of surgery involving the digestion system and should have been looked for during her after care. 

As a result of the negligent care the patient received, she suffered from the symptoms of sepsis for almost a year, going in and out of the hospital for treatments.  The hospital in this case admitted negligent care and settled with the patient for an undisclosed amount.

Cases of Medical Malpractice

Despite the surgery not being medically necessary, proper care following the procedure is still necessary.  In this case, sepsis is a common result of this type of surgery and those attending to the patients after care should have been checking for its symptoms often. 

Other elective surgeries also result in secondary infections when the patient is sent home too soon after the procedure.  If you are considering any type of cosmetic surgery be sure that the aftercare instructions are clear to avoid developing any infections.

Don’t assume that because your surgery was not necessary for your health, that the physician is under no obligation to give you quality care.  Plastic surgeons are held to the same standard as any other physician and can be held liable for negligence.  Talk with a Missouri medical malpractice attorney today if you feel that your surgeon was lax in his obligation to you as a patient. Call (314) 588-7200 for a free case evaluation.

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