Risky Business: Non-Specialists Taking On Cosmetic Procedures for Financial Gain

Risky Business: Non-Specialists Taking on Cosmetic Procedures for Financial Gain

As a New York City medical malpractice lawyer I know that medicine is increasingly a specialized arena.

This is likely an outgrowth of the myriad of advances that have been made in medical research–one doctor is simply unlikely to know it all in modern-day medicine.

Surgical instruments medical malpractice

While a general practitioner may be able to handle a range of medical woes, the idea of non-specialists performing risky cosmetic procedures is a concerning and dangerous trend.

Below, we’ll discuss this (and more) in further depth.

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The Practice of Doctors Expanding Into Cosmetic Procedures

A recent piece in The New York Times highlighted the practice of doctors expanding into cosmetic procedures.

The article highlights the story of a woman who used a “board certified” doctor for a tummy tuck and face lift.

After the procedures left undesirable scars, the woman learned that the doctor was actually certified in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat surgery) rather than cosmetic work.

The Times notes that more doctors are turning to plastic surgery because it can be more lucrative than other medical procedures, especially in an era of declining reimbursements by insurance companies.

Dr. Malcom Roth, the current head of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and chief of plastic surgery at Albany Medical Center, notes a surge in patients coming in for revisionary work after a botched cosmetic procedure by an untrained non-specialist.

Dr. Roth tells the Times that the public needs to be protected from medical providers who hide the true nature of their certifications and expertise, a deception that carries risk for the patient.

Doctors Not Required to Elaborate When Stating They Are 'Board Certified'

Most states, including New York, do not require doctors to elaborate when stating they are “board-certified”.

Personally, I find this to be misleading and believe that doctors should be required to specify the area of medicine in which they are board certified.

Patients should be able to rely on advertising by the medical community, but the current rules permit deceptive practices by some doctors.

This does not, however, mean that a New York patient with a botched cosmetic procedure is without recourse.

A medical malpractice lawsuit can proceed even despite the lack of advertising regulations.

In fact, bringing a legitimate malpractice suit can help spur change.

If doctors know they will face a lawsuit if they botch a procedure outside their area of expertise, they will be much less likely to engage in these risky practices.

Improperly performed procedures can result in death and yet patients may feel hesitant to bring an action for a less severe outcome.

This hesitation is understandable but misplaced.

A proper malpractice suit recognizes the very real mental anguish a poor cosmetic outcome can carry and may even prevent a future fatal outcome due to the deterrent effect of malpractice law.

If you’d like to conduct your own research on a doctor that you are interested in seeing, I have provided a brief outline of some of the places you might want to check out on our Patient Safety blog.

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About Anthony T. DiPietro

Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.

Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.

In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Here, at The DiPietro Law Firm, we’re committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault find the justice they deserve.

All information discussed during our consultations always remains completely 100% confidential.

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