cosmetic injury lawsuit | Law Office of Louiza Tarassova

Med Spas Without Medical Pros

By | Cosmetic Injury, Cosmetic Procedure Injury, Personal Injury | No Comments

I want to address a very disturbing trend that I am seeing emerge in the medical spa world.  Patients are being treated by unqualified office staff at medical spas, with no supervision by any medical professionals.

In my Cosmetic Procedure Injury practice, I have talked to a number of clients that report the same situation. They go to a medical spa for a cosmetic procedure, which they fully except to be performed by a medical professional such as a Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant but they never actually meet with anyone other than non-medical staff members, who consult with the patients, perform the procedure, and even deal with post-procedure complications. The patient never knows that the person with whom they are dealing is not a medical professional. The office staff wear scrubs and speak authoritatively about the medical procedures. It is not until the patient gets injured and seeks the advice of an experienced attorney that they find out that the person performing the procedure is not licensed to do so.

To protect yourself, you should always check whether the person performing your cosmetic procedure has a Florida medical license with the Board of Medicine or any kind of license with the Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

In Florida, even electrologists who are licensed to work with lasers, to remove unwanted hair, are required to be under the direct supervision of a physician and the physician is required to personally meet with the patient for at least the initial consultation. It is logical that whenever someone is using a medical device to administer a procedure on a patient, they must either have a medical education or be under the close supervision of someone who does.

Unfortunately, as more medical products are becoming available for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, and cosmetic procedures outside of a plastic surgeon’s office are becoming more popular, physicians are feeling more comfortable delegating the task of administering these procedures to their non-medical staff. Physicians are driven by the money they save on lower-cost staff, which are much cheaper to employ than qualified medical professionals. Many medical spas are owned and managed by non-medical entrepreneurs that do not understand the need for a well-supervised practice, led by a hands-on medical professional.

Many times in my practice, I have seen a single physician “supervise” multiple medical spas around town, where the physician’s sole job is to sign charts without ever seeing a single patient. These absentee supervising physicians are completely oblivious to what is going on in the clinics that they “supervise” and do not know whether the employees performing the medical procedures are following protocol, properly administering the procedures, and adequately advising the patients of their risks.

In our practice, we have seen injuries that have resulted from a variety of cosmetic procedures including, CoolSculpting, lasers, chemical peels, injections of Botox and injections of fillers, just to name a few.

Treating patients without an appropriate license is not only dangerous, it is illegal. If you have been injured after undergoing a cosmetic procedure in a medical spa, call us today to discuss your case with our experienced attorney at 855-554-6534.

Injecting Too Much Filler = Liability

By | Cosmetic Procedure Injury | No Comments

First of all, I want to start by saying that I personally think that injectable cosmetic procedures are great. Botox and Dysport can effectively relax wrinkle-prone areas of the face and give eyebrows a slight and happy lift. Dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane (or any other brand name) can dramatically enhance lips and fill deep wrinkle lines. If done correctly and with utmost care, injectables can keep both men and women looking young and feeling great about the aging process. Injectables can also creatively solve many cosmetic concerns (such as filling deep acne scars) without the need for invasive plastic surgery.

BUT… I want to address a serious problem that I see as an attorney handling cosmetic procedure injury cases. Upselling units.

This is the general scenario:

A patient makes an appointment at a med spa or a doctor’s office to find out more information about an injectable product. The patient’s intention is to collect information about the procedure such as the risks that should be considered, the amount of units necessary, the cost of the procedure, the difference between products on the market, etc. Although the patient is open minded about undergoing the procedure, their intention is to consult with a knowledgable professional before doing so. When the patient gets to the office, they are met by pushy staff that pressure the patient into undergoing the procedure immediately. Sometimes, the office even has a promotional rate for buying more injectable product (more units). At the time of the consultation, no actual  information about the product is provided. The patient still has many questions about the cosmetic procedure they are about to undergo. The patient ends up purchasing more units of the injectable product than they actually need. And the injector proceeds to over-inject the patient with too much product, causing lasting injuries.

Over-selling units of injectable product leads to injuries. It is a reckless practice and in my opinion, simply unethical. Med spas and doctors’ offices are incentivized to sell more units because they charge by the unit. The more units they sell, the more profit they make!

Injecting too much filler can result in arterial occlusion, cutting off blood supply to the skin and causing the skin tissue to die (necrosis). Injecting too much botulinum or injecting it in places that do not need it, can cause loss of muscle function, drooping lids or eyebrows, and even double vision. Some consequences of over-injecting resolve over time, while others have permanent effects.

Most people trust their injectors and believe that the injector will act in their best interest. And many injectors do a great job of caring first and foremost about their patient’s health and happiness. But, unfortunately in my practice I have seen a number of examples where profits take priority over a person’s well-being.

Therefore, it is always wise to do your own research. Check out reviews about the clinic and the product before making an appointment. Write down your questions and make sure you get clear answers to every single one before agreeing to the procedure.  And most importantly, if you feel confused or uncertain about something, do not be afraid to say “let me think about it” and go home.

 

Low Medical Bills Do Not Mean Small Personal Injury

By | Cosmetic Injury, Litigation, Negotiation, Personal Injury, Settlement | No Comments

I have had substantial success in securing high personal injury settlements in cases with low medical bills. But even when the injury is unarguably substantial, it is a challenge to get the defendant or the insurance carrier to see the value of the case. I am also aware that many personal injury attorneys are reluctant to take cases where the economic losses (hospital bills, wage losses, etc.) are low or non-existent. In fact, I have had several clients come to me for help with their serious personal injury cases after the big firms passed on them because of “low medicals.”

The truth of the matter is that how an insurance carrier assesses a personal injury case is completely different from how the jury will evaluate the case. Insurance companies do not seem to look at the factors a jury would normally consider first. Adjusters are robotic in the way they appraise a personal injury case. They first want to know the amount of economic losses. They want to see a track record of the injured person seeking treatment. Then, the adjuster will normally offer an amount of compensation directly related to that amount. In my negotiations with the insurance companies I often hear, “but your client doesn’t have that many medical bills, this is not a six-figure case.”

But what if the injury is bad, and nothing but time can heal it? What if no amount of medical treatment will speed up the healing process?

Unlike the robots at the insurance company, a jury will consider the nature of the injury first. They don’t care if the injured plaintiff  paid the ER  a $100 co-pay or still owes a $70,000 bill. They consider how the injury has impacted the plaintiff’s life and whether the conduct of the defendant was negligent. Normal people do not work off of formulas, they make decisions based on the circumstances and facts surrounding the situation.

There are many serious injuries which simply cannot be resolved with medical treatment. For example, second-degree burns. Any emergency room physician will agree that burn treatment is limited in the second-degree stage. The skin is scorched and the pain is agonizing but the patient will be sent home after being treated with a simple topical cream and some pain killers. This means that the economic losses are low. I won a jury trial on this type of injury and my client was awarded $250,000 for pain and suffering and $593 for her past medical bills, because that is all the treatment cost her.

Another example of a case I successfully resolved was a skin infection case. There, a young woman contracted impetigo after visiting a local med spa to for a chemical peel. The medicals were low, because other than an inexpensive prescription, only time could heal the scars. That botched cosmetic procedure case also had to be aggressively litigated before the parties came to a favorable settlement.

A large number of personal injury cases in which I achieved great results for my clients did not have high medical bills or wage losses. Therefore, low medical bills in a personal injury case does not mean low compensation! But, you do have to be willing to file a lawsuit and get ready for a trial.

Medical Device Injury – Inherent Conflict of Interest

By | Cosmetic Injury, Personal Injury | No Comments

With the demand to stay looking young through minimally invasive cosmetic procedures medical spas (or med spas) are a great alternative to a plastic surgeon. These establishments may provide both medical and non-medical treatments to their clients and can be very lucrative to own. Med spas are expected to provide the most innovative technology to their patients and may offer services such as non-invasive fat reduction, laser hair removal, dermabrasion, laser tattoo removal, and even vaginal rejuvenation. Most of these types of cosmetic procedures are performed with medical devices. As a result, medical device manufacturers pursue med spas to sell their machines and systems to them, promising a huge return on their investment.

Yet, the purchase of a medical device comes with an inherent risk of conflict of interest. First and foremost the owner of the med spa may not necessary be a licensed medical professional. In our experience of representing clients who have been injured while undergoing a cosmetic procedure, most of the clinics were owned by businessmen and women, not licensed doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. This creates a big problem in how the medical services which they provide to their patients are viewed. Business people view the sale of services as money making opportunities. In the case of med spas they just happen to be selling medical services. Therefore, any risk of adverse effects of a cosmetic procedure may be downplayed or simply not disclosed to the patients to ensure that the patient buys the services.

Secondly, regardless of who owns the med spa, medical devices are an expensive investment, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Med spas are pressured to sell enough services to get a return on their investment.  Therefore, any information regarding the risk of a procedure could discourage a patient from undergoing it, thereby leaving the med spa an unable to cover the cost of the device and profit therefrom.

We have represented clients who were  pressured into undergoing a cosmetic procedure after going into a med spa for a simple consultation. The staff selling these medical services are usually not medical professionals but trained sales people. They are trained to highlight and focus on the potential benefits of the procedure and downplay the procedure’s risks of injury.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the risk of suffering a permanent and serious injury is not worth the relatively small potential benefits of the cosmetic procedures.  But only the medical professionals administering these procedures know the truth.

If you have been injured as the result of undergoing a cosmetic procedure with a medical device such as Scarlet SRF, MAGMA, FormaTK, Agnes RF, NeoGen PSR, Viveve, ADVATx, vFit PLUS, CoolSculpting, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. Call our attorney today at 407-622-1885 to discuss your case for free.

Did you know your risks before undergoing your Cosmetic Procedure?

By | Cosmetic Injury, Personal Injury | No Comments

You have the right to be informed about any and all adverse effects of your cosmetic procedure before you decide to do it. Your cosmetologist, aesthetician, esthetician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or a doctor should tell you about the risk of being injured, regardless of how small it may be.

Everyone wants to look good and it is absolutely normal to want to improve or even completely alter your appearance with the help of a cosmetic professional. Today there are many options, from simple and routine beauty adjustments such as facials to the more intense cosmetic procedures that involve a visit to a medical spa and the help of a medical professional. Yet almost every cosmetic procedure has a potential risk of adverse side effects, some which may be serious and permanent.  Therefore, understanding your risks of a cosmetic procedure is very important to your decision making process.

We have seen cases where our clients have gone in for “light” chemical peels and got infections and chemical burns because the person performing the cosmetic procedure failed to properly inform them about the risks of the procedure and failed to give them important pre and post procedure instructions (such as staying out of the sun and avoiding certain beauty products for days before and after the peel), which raise the risk of infection and post treatment burns.

Before you agree to undergo a cosmetic procedure, your provider must take time to explain everything you need to know about the procedure. Full information about the procedure must be provided before your payment for the procedure is taken and the procedure begins. Whether it is a chemical peel, facial, dermal filler injection (such as Juvederm, Restylane, Sculptra, Bellafill, Aquamid, Elevess, Captique, Hylaform, Perlane, Prevelle, Puragen) Botox injection, laser hair removal, CoolSculpting or other fat reduction method, or any other popular cosmetic procedure, you have the right to be informed. You should never feel pressured to undergo any cosmetic procedure and you have the right to go home and think about it.

If you suffered an adverse side effect (injury) from a cosmetic procedure which your provider did not discuss with you prior to the procedure, you may be entitle to compensation. Our law office focuses a large portion of our work on helping people who have been injured after undergoing cosmetic procedures. Call us today at 407-622-1885 to discuss your case for free.

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