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Florida Women Dies from Plastic Surgery

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Plastic Surgery Malpractice

As a Broward plastic surgery malpractice lawyer, I was deeply saddened by the recent news of that Idell Frazer, a 50-year old Florida grandmother, lost her life during a liposuction and fat transfer at Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute. Our law office is currently representing the family of Lidvian Zelaya who died during the same procedure last year. You can read the filed Stamped Complaint-8731.pdf

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Fat embolisms are one of the many known complications associated with fat re-injection procedures. Pulmonary embolisms occur when a blood clot forms and clogs an artery in a patient’s lung. Any plastic surgery patient can develop a pulmonary embolism or “PE” but certain factors increase the risk:

1. Surgery is the leading cause of blood clots. The risk of developing a blood clot increases with the duration of anesthesia. In other words the longer the procedure the higher the risk of developing a blood clot. This is one of the reasons that multiple cosmetic procedures are not recommended to be performed during one operation.

2. Prolonged immobility. Blood clots are more likely to form in the legs after patients are subjected to prolonged bed rest (recuperating from surgery) or from sitting in cramped positions during long car trips or flights.

3. Age. Older patients are at a higher risk for an embolism because the valves that move blood in the veins become increasingly inefficient with age. Older patients are more commonly dehydrated and have co-morbid medical conditions like cancer or heat disease which can increase the risk for a clot.

4. Family History. It is important that doctors, particularly those performing elective cosmetic procedures like fat injections, understand a patient’s family history for blood disorders. Special tests can and should be ordered before any procedure to determine if there are any clotting disorders that would put a patient at a higher risk for a blood clot.

5. Smoking and Obesity are additional factors that predispose a patient to form a blood clot. The risk is higher when combined with the other factors listed above.

Our Fort Lauderdale surgery malpractice law firm advises anyone considering undergoing an elective cosmetic procedure to have a thorough physical exam performed by a Board Certified internal medicine doctor who has no relationship to the potential plastic surgeon or clinic to obtain medical clearance. In addition, we recommend that you carefully select your plastic surgeon and only use one who is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. We hope no other family will lose a spouse, parent, child or partner due to a botched plastic surgery.

How To Pick Your Plastic Surgeon-My Advice on “The Doctors”

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Plastic Surgery Malpractice

The selection of a surgeon can often mean the difference between having a fantastic result or of making a medical condition go from bad to worse. I recently had the privilege of appearing on “The Doctors” with Dr. Drew Orden during a segment on how to select a plastic surgeon. For over twenty years Dr. Orden has practiced aesthetic plastic and reconstructive surgery New York City, Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage.

Our South Florida medical malpractice law firm believes that before undergoing any elective procedure you should obtain a number of opinions from various surgeons. Selecting a surgeon based upon the lowest price is rarely the best decision. We also recommend that patients do research on their potential doctors. Florida Statutes section 458.320 is the law that regulates the financial responsibility of doctors. Unbeknownst to most people, Florida does not require that doctors carry medical malpractice insurance. Accordingly, you should go to the Florida Department of Health’s website (or the equivalent for the state in which you reside) to verify that your potential surgeon is in fact licensed and has staff privileges at a near by hospital.

Many plastic surgeons will send you to a “friendly” doctor to clear you for an elective surgery. As a lawyer who has sued plastic and cosmetic surgeons for over 20 years I recommend that you go to your own primary care physician or find an independent internist to perform the preoperative clearance.

Lastly, many states allow doctors to perform plastic and cosmetic surgeries that are not actually trained or board certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Since 1933, the ABMS has certified doctors to help patients and hospital identify doctors who are able to provided specialty health care in a number of medical. In all, there are 24 medical specialties and sub-specialties.

As an attorney who sues doctors in Florida who operate on the wrong site we believe that every patient should take the time to understand not only the kind of procedure they are undergoing but as much as possible about the person performing the surgery. Information enables a patient to make informed decisions about their care and hopefully prevent them from becoming a victim of a cosmetic surgery malpractice.

Florida’s Judge and Juries Hate Plastic Surgery Medical Malpractice Cases

Written by Spencer Aronfeld on . Posted in Plastic Surgery Malpractice

Judges and juries dislike medical malpractice cases in Florida especially if they deal with an elective cosmetic procedure or botched plastic surgery.

One would want to believe that in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, places where just about everyone and their mothers have undergone either a breast augmentation or tummy tuck, South Florida jurors and judges would be empathetic. However, that is simply not the case. After representing injured victims of botched plastic surgery in Florida for over 20 years, I believe that most potential jurors fall into one of two categories in how they perceive individuals who are bringing a claim for a botched plastic surgery. First, there are those who have themselves successfully undergone some form of elective plastic surgery and they tend to want to assess fault upon the patient for not going to a better doctor. In the alternative, If the potential juror hasn’t had plastic surgery, they tend to believe that the injured patient is responsible for their own injury for not having been satisfied with their looks or being too lazy to go to a gym or diet. In other words, they blame the plaintiff for being “vain.” Faced with either type of juror mentality, makes winning a plastic surgery malpractice law suit in Florida extremely difficult.

The typical doctor defense will spend hours going through the preoperative consent forms, that outline every possible complication from scarring, infection, bleeding or even death, to argue that the patient “assumed the risk.”

I recommend that all patients take their own pre-op photographs to preserve the evidence of how they looked before to compare to their post-op results. This is especially important if the patient is considering undergoing multiple surgical procedures at one time. I also recommend that they bring all consent forms to a competent lawyer to read before signing.

I have sued dozens of plastic surgeons around the country and most defendants I have found are extraordinarily charming, sophisticated, articulate and seductive. After all, they are able to convince patients that they have the power to make them look younger and more attractive. They can often use those same talents and skills to seduce a jury.

Rarely do elective cosmetic surgeries take place in Florida hospitals. Most are performed in out-patient surgical centers pursuant to Stat re outpatient procedures-490-727.pdf However, when a hospital is involved, obtaining as much information about the quality of care at that institution before the surgery is critical. “Florida’s Hospitals Have a Secret” is a recent article I authored on the Huffington Post that details the extent of legal protection Florida law provides both hospitals and the doctors; especially, in terms of how little information injured patients are entitled to obtain from Florida hospitals who have allegedly killed or injured a patient.

Our Florida patient injury lawyers believe that the best way to avoid being the victim of malpractice is to prevent it from ever occurring, by obtaining information about the risk associated with certain procedures as well as the level of care provided at various hospitals and surgical centers. However, as long as Florida’s judges, juries and legislature continue to protect doctors and hospitals at the expense of the injured, patients will be at risk.