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« Make sure your plastic surgeon has a Wii. | Main | States taxing plastic surgery & cosmetic medicine. »
Wednesday
Feb212007

How not to handle plastic surgery malpractice pubicity.

My Surgery Nightmare: An unhappy patient takes on her plastic surgeon.

ggbae_(2).jpgPlastic surgeons are among, if not the most, likely physician objects of malpractice claims. And when patients want to punish you, they now have resouces. Case in point; mysurgerynightmare.com.

The reasoning is simple. Where an unwanted outcome in cardio-thorasic surgery is marked off as a given possibility, people who are looking at plastic surgery don't have the same expectation of risk. Cosmetic treatments are viewed as flawless and doctors often minimize the possibility of an unwanted outcome.

A poor result strikes directly at a patients ego and perception of self. Not something you want to damage and remain friends.The

The level of communication and networking now available on the web gives anyounparalledled access to spreading their views.

From the site:  

***UPDATE: Dr. Sykes tried to force me to take down this website by suing me for defamation. On January 26th, 2007 the California Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that Dr. Sykes' claims had no merit.  The Court found that my website contributed to the public debate regarding plastic surgery.  The Court also said that the statements on my website regarding Dr. Sykes were either true or were matters of opinion.  It said Dr. Sykes was unable to show that there was any false information on this website.  Since the Court of Appeal ruled in my favor, Dr. Sykes and his attorney have continued claiming that my website is misleading.  But the Court considered and rejected all of their arguments.

And there's this:

In a sworn deposition on October 26, 2004 it was asked of Dr. Sykes if he's ever been a defendant in any other medical malpractice lawsuits.  His answer was "I think three others."

The fact is Dr. Jonathan Sykes has  MANY medical malpractice lawsuits filed against him.

Medical malpractice lawsuits* were filed against Dr. Sykes on  9/9/2005 ,  7/21/2005,  4/12/2005,  7/12/04,  5/25/2004,  12/01/2003, 12/11/2002,  4/15/2002,  12/12/2001,  8/18/2000 and 11/14/1991.

 Does Dr. Sykes really want eveyone to know that he was sued three seperate times in 2005?

Certainly there is widespread distain for all things legal among physicians. Just take a look over at Kevin MD where there's continual back and forth among docs and malpractice attorneys. 

Part of the problem is the inherent conflict of interest in plastic surgery and other elective procedures. Where a doc in an ER is not choosing patients and is generally on salary, a cosmetic plastic surgeon is performing and elective procedure and benefiting directly from the payment.

Ah, there's the rub.

Reader Comments (11)

This is a very delicate situation that unfortunately happens all the time. This woman mentions that she didn't "need FIVE procedures." And she also lays the groundwork for being at a particularly vulnerable place in her life when she made the decision to seek surgery. But the plain truth is that she didn't "NEED" anything...that's why these procedures are elective. Nobody actually needs a cosmetic procedure, rather it is something that you want. And many people chose to do something cosmetic in vulnerable times...they want to look and feel better about themselves. I have had many women come in during a divorce and say, "Ok, I want to look my best. Do whatever you think I need." And this is an important time to tease out of them what their concerns might be. One woman loves big lips whereas the other wants hers to remain thin.

This woman chose to have surgery and now she is unhappy with the result. But there might be people out there who would be happy with her "after" photos. That part is opinion just like some people like long hair and some people think they look better with short hair. Ultimately it isn't the hair stylist who makes the decision on the haircut, it is the person. And while a surgeon can make recommendations. It is the patient's responsibility to not just follow those recommendations blindly. Especially since it is surgery...not just a haircut!

I actually agree that she looked better beforehand. And I'd like to think that I would have told her she didn't need surgery to begin with. But where there is a will, there is a way. Personal responsibility needs to play a role in making these decisions to perform elective procedures.
I agree with Aesthetic M.D.I read her website with interest. She looked better in the before photos and didn't need Plastic Surgery.
BUT she wanted (no doubt) her lips fuller, her "hooded" lids gone etc etc and probably would have just sought out another doctor if he had turned her down. I see this all the time in my cosmetic practice and just use a little botox and filler to make subtle changes. There are those that want a "permanent" fix and are drawn to PS anyway.
She didn't have a complication or a bad outcome-just the results that those procedures promise (as far as I can tell).
I don't think I would have agreed with the jury that allowed her to keep the derogatory information on Dr. Sykes online. Sure she can have a website debating the need for PS but some personal responsibility is warranted in this case.
02.22 | Unregistered CommenterLA MD
LA & Aesthtic,
Personal responsibility's not the issue here. It's free speech. I'll agree witht the author. No matter where the responsibility lies, unhappy patients can have a voice that's much louder now than in the past. Trying to squelch peoples opinions just attracts attention...

Look at that Dermacare letter.
02.22 | Unregistered CommenterJC MD
The patient chose the surgery . Too bad if its not the exact way you wanted it. You took the risk.
02.22 | Unregistered Commentermd
JC MD
I totally AGREE with you and do not think anybody should squelch others opinions at all. I am all for awareness and open discussion as well. I DO think she is acting the part of the victim rather than a consenting participant.
02.22 | Unregistered CommenterLA MD
Hypothetically what if this doctor minimized risks and did suggest the surgery to this patient does that change anything? Why is it 100% the patient’s responsibility to try and understand what surgery can or can not do when they do not have a medical background to fully understand. Also where are the resources so patients can research possible bad outcomes? If you look on the web the only thing you are going to find is great results, so how is any patient really going to fully understand what the risks are?
02.23 | Unregistered CommenterPatient
I know nothing about cars or automotive repair. But if I go to the mechanic for an oil change and he comes out recommending I get a new distributor cap, clean out all the lines, get 4 new tires, and repaint my car...you'd better believe I'd ask for a second opinion! And I agree that free speech is something to be treasured. I'd tell everyone to avoid that crazy mechanic and bring my car in for an oil change somewhere else.
i agree with the md's . you need to do your own research and if you don't like the outcome; poor you. you took the risk. beauty is subjective, the md's idea of beauty may not be yours but utimately you took the risk. sorry baby you lose. who cares about the money malpractice; you look pretty bad.
03.8 | Unregistered Commenterpatient
The problem is plastic surgery is not regulated by anyone. A doctor can promise anything to patient to try and sell their services, for quite a profit I might add, and if they screw up they know the likeness of anything ever happening to them is small.

When you hire someone to do a job and they say they can deliver and then they screw up, they should be held accountable, period. Just because you are a "doctor" doesn't give you a free pass of not doing right by your patient. If more patients were to come forward with their screwed up plastic surgery results, I bet doctors would be a lot less busy. Doctors bury their mess ups and patients are usually too embarrassed to come forward so people have the perception that the risks of plastic surgery are minimal. Doctors are sure not going to tell you how many screw ups they had in their career. I hope more people come forward because that's the only way people are going to become truly educated.
03.14 | Unregistered Commenterpatient2

When it comes to laser problems, I think the doctors should start suing the laser companies. The lser company training is inadequate, their support stinks. They don't encourage doctors to share experiences and compare notes. They only recommend "safe settings" which do not produce adequate clinical outcomes and they are unwilling to participate in the process of finding safe AND effective protocols. They think that they will be sued if they help us find the best way to use their laser, but they don't think they will be sued if they abandon us to figure it out on our own.

Doctors, quit being p u ssies and get some backbone and some testicular fortitude. Demand support from your laser company! Don't let them think they can abandon us and not be held responsible for this irresponsible attitude.

Start demanding real help, real settings, real results. Start demanding real information and real webinars and real access to the experts. Start now!!!

Let's not let these laser companies walk all over us. Let's not let the idiot laser company executives s c r ew us the way the investment bankers s c r ewed us. They are idiots who are so arrogant. They think that they are smart because they lie to us all the time and we just take it. They make lots of money for being arrogant a holes and we need to hold them accoutable for what they do AFTER the sale of their $100,000 lasers.

Seems a lot of people unhappy with cosmetic surgeries phrase it as "malpractice". Having access to experienced lawyers is never a bad thing.

10.3 | Unregistered CommenterAG

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