Out-of-hospital alternatives lead to increased malpractice claims
A recent trend has made cosmetic surgery more convenient and affordable, but has also made procedures more dangerous for patients. Clinic-based plastic surgery locations, often termed “medical spas,” provide day surgery services to patients, but are frequently not subject to the same state regulations that are in place when a procedure is performed in a hospital setting. And less regulation puts patients at risk.
In early 2013, there were approximately 2,100 medical spas operating in the United States. Procedures are performed in a setting more akin to a doctor’s office than an operating room, and as such, much of the overhead that comes with a hospital stay is eliminated. And because the work is done in the United States, patients see med spas as a safer, cost-effective alternative to medical tourism, where patients travel to foreign countries with cheaper healthcare, and less medical regulation.
Unfortunately, state legislature still hasn’t caught up with the increase in med spas popularity, and as a result, this cost-saving option is still relatively unregulated. In 2011, USA TODAY reported that only half of states have licensing or accreditation laws in place for medical offices where surgeries are performed. Many have regulations that only go into effect when anesthesia is involved, or requirements that only apply to the anesthetic, not to the procedure itself.
For patients, this means that even if a doctor follows the meager regulations in place, results can vary wildly. There may be no regulations in place for pre-operative consultation, post-op care or even for prescribing medication to help patients manage pain and discomfort. Some patients have been left disfigured, partially paralyzed or otherwise disabled following their procedures, with little or no support from their doctor.
While states are working to establish an appropriate level of regulatory oversight, patients today may feel like they have no legal recourse. An experienced medical attorney, however, can still help to establish a baseline for expectation of care. They can then determine if the doctor failed to meet that expectation, whether through negligence, inaction or professional incompetence. Establishing a case for negligence can be the difference between winning a case and a dismissal, especially when the regulatory law is so tenuous.
Whether they’re working in a hospital or a medical spa, doctors have a responsibility to provide the best quality of care possible to their patients. The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC in Baltimore have extensive experience representing victims of medical malpractice, and encourage those victims to reach out to their attorneys. They understand the laws and accepted practices surrounding cosmetic procedures, and can help build a case to secure the compensation that victims need in order to get back on their feet. Their law offices are located at 300 East Lombard Street in Baltimore, Maryland.