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.
64B8-9.009 Standard of Care for Office Surgery:
NOTHING IN THIS RULE RELIEVES THE SURGEON OF THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING THE MEDICAL DETERMINATION THAT THE OFFICE IS AN APPROPRIATE FORUM FOR THE PARTICULAR PROCEDURE(S) TO BE PERFORMED ON THE PARTICULAR PATIENT.