Many people, especially women, spend money on cosmetic surgery. Some choose to improve their physical appearance; others opt to fix deformities caused by accidents or birth defects. The surgery can have a positive effect on patients by increasing their self-esteem, but if not done right, it can have the undesired result of health complications or even death.
Negative and unintended consequences can result from improper procedures, use of substandard products or unlicensed professionals performing such work. A story in USA Today reported the case of Florida woman Lee Howard who died after having a liposuction procedure performed. The doctor who performed the procedure, Alberto Sant Antonio, was not licensed, but offered to do the liposuction treatment anyway. He administered lidocaine during the procedure without measuring it, leading to excessively high levels of the drug in the woman’s body. He then prescribed her pain medication leading to a toxic mix of drugs that her body could not handle.
Mrs. Howard arrived home after the procedure and felt unwell. She laid down on the couch to rest, and passed away in her sleep sometime that evening. Tragically, her 10-year-old son found her lifeless body the next morning. She was only 32 years old.
Unlicensed and Untrained Cosmetic Surgeons
Unfortunately, cases in which unskilled physicians perform cosmetic surgery without proper training and licensing are common. The Sun Sentinel reports that Howard was one of four mothers in their thirties to die recently from complications following cosmetic surgery.
Unlicensed doctors often give discounts to vulnerable women who understand that cosmetic procedures are expensive. When offered an opportunity to have a procedure done at a low price, many women jump at the opportunity, not realizing the danger. Any doctor in the United States can perform aesthetic surgery, regardless of area of expertise. This can lead to shoddy work with lasting physical and emotional consequence.
Medical Malpractice Leads to Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice suits are hard to prove. It takes severe circumstances like those of Mrs. Howard to show negligence. When doctors make medical errors, especially using local anesthetics in large quantities as in Mrs. Howard’s case, wrongful death is a common result.
Defendants in medical malpractice suits will go all out to hire the best legal team available to fight the claim. Howard’s doctor had the nerve to petition the court to dismiss the case, asking the family’s attorney to explain how the doctor was negligent. The amount of lidocaine in Howard’s system was recklessly high. According to one expert witness in the case, the overdose levels showed “a basic misunderstanding of the principles of pharmacology and patient safety.”
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them, negligent doctors make matters worse by fighting cases in which they are clearly in the wrong. The stance taken by Antonio prolongs and deepens the pain felt by this family.
If you or someone you love suffered injury at the hands of a cosmetic surgeon, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. The law only allows a limited time for you to file your claim, so act now. Our caring attorney with work hard to insure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.