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5 Top Botched Plastic Surgery Verdicts

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There are 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries completed every year in the US, including Botox, laser hair removal and breast implants. However bad results like infections, allergic reactions, blood clotting under the skin, scarring and deaths have led to large recoveries by plaintiffs.

5.  Disfigured breast cancer survivor awarded $1.1 Million

A 49-year-year-old Nassau County, New York, woman who overcame breast cancer after a lumpectomy and a course of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, wanted to even out the appearance of her breasts, believing they were “no longer symmetrical.”  The plastic surgeon suggested a breast augmentation and a breast lift, the latter of which the plaintiff declined.  The surgeon also negligently told the plaintiff that the risk of serious complications with this surgery was only one to two percent, although the statistics printed on his forms stated a risk of up to 20 percent.  An expert plastic surgeon testified that due to the plaintiff’s radiation treatments, the risk of serious complications were as high as 50 percent.

After the original breast augmentation and two additional surgeries, the plaintiff had a “gaping wound under her left breast, a grossly deformed left breast, and significant asymmetry” in her breasts.  The plaintiff required two subsequent corrective surgeries from another surgeon, and despite the corrective surgeries, she was left with permanent “extensive scarring and deformities.”

In the 2005 trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff $1.1 million for past and future pain and suffering, lost earnings, and medical expenses.

The case is Klein v. South Shore Cosmetic Surgeons P.C. Et Al. case no. 22 NY. J.V.R.A. 6:C4 in the Nassau County, New York Supreme Court.

4.  "Dr. Lips" manslaughter and malpractice case with $2.5 Million verdict

Tamara Matatoff of Miami, Florida, underwent a tummy tuck and thigh trim surgery from Dr. Ricardo Samitier, who advertised himself as “Dr. Lips.” The surgery left her unable to stand up straight for a year after the surgery.  Dr. Samitier promised Matatoff that her surgery would take 1-1/2 hours and that she would be healed enough to attend her son’s wedding, which was a month after the surgery.  The surgery took five hours, during which Matatoff was bleeding so heavily that Dr. Samitier “stitched Plaintiff up in a sitting position on the operating table.”

Dr. Samitier was not present for the trial, because he was in jail pending criminal actions in a case for which he was eventually convicted of manslaughter when a patient, undergoing liposuction surgery and a penis-enlargement surgery, bled to death during the operation.  Dr. Samitier was sentenced to five years in prison.  After the trial in 1994, the jury awarded Matatoff $2,375,000 and her husband $125,000 for loss of consortium.

The cases are Tamara Matatoff & Amnon Matatoff v. Dr. Ricardo Samitier, Jr. and Medical Surgical Centers of America, INC., Case no. 94 FJVR 11-34 in the Miami-Dade County Florida Circuit Court, and Samitier v. State, Case no. No. 94-2568 in the Florida Third District Court of Appeals.

3. $40 Million verdict for liposuction wrongful death

Joel Cunningham, 33, of New York City, died while undergoing abdominal liposuction procedure where plaintiff’s estate asserted that the physicians negligently administered anesthesia, causing his death.  Medical examiner found cause of death to be complications of local and general anesthesia, as autopsy revealed toxic levels of lidocaine in Cunningham’s body.  During the surgery when Cunningham’s heart rate and blood pressure dropped, the surgeon and anesthesiologist were negligent in their delayed resuscitation and reintubation efforts because the batteries in a laryngoscope were dead.  Although the defendant surgeon, a resident, was only to assist in the procedure, the defendant anesthesiologist asked him to begin the surgery until the scheduled surgeon arrived.  The scheduled surgeon never arrived.

The defendant anesthesiologist was on professional probation at the time of the surgery for alcohol and substance abuse, and required a supervising anesthesiologist be present while performing anesthesia, although none was present at the time of surgery.  The anesthesiologist also listed and forged the signature of another surgeon on the record for Cunningham’s procedure, although that surgeon was not at the center on the day of the surgery.

The center advertised that a “world renowned surgeon” directed the facility, but in reality, it had no medical director on staff, no verification of the employed physician’s credentials, and no medical malpractice insurance.

The jury awarded $40 million in punitive damages against the owners of the center, and another $ 363,000 in compensatory damages against the defendant surgeon and anesthesiologist in a 2003 trial.  The verdict was later reduced to $5 Million in 2004.

The case is Brown v. Lafontaine-Rish Medical Associates Case No. 20 NY. J.V.R.A. 7:C1 in the Bronx County, New York Supreme Court.

2.  $60 Million initial verdict for vaginal deformity caused by thigh lift surgery

Allison Yusefa Hugh of Bronx County, New York, lost 200 pounds after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and was left with excessive skin on her legs.  She underwent a thigh lift surgery to remove the skin.  She claimed that the surgeon failed to inform her of the risks associated with the procedure, including the risk of injury and deformity to her vagina.  Hugh alleged that too much skin was removed during the procedure, causing tension near her groin area, causing a flattening and pulling open of her vagina.  The skin pulling also caused the wound to break down and bleed.

A jury initially awarded Hugh $60 million for past and future pain and suffering after the 2009 trial, but the verdict was later reduced in two subsequent retrials, from $4 million down to $600,000 during the final trial held in 2011.

The case is Hugh v. Ofodile M.D. Case no. 20473/05 in the Bronx County, New York Supreme Court.

1.  Initial $825 Million verdict after 13 corrective surgeries to repair breast disfigurement

Christy Aills of Plantation, Florida, underwent a breast implant and breast lift during the same procedure in April 2003.  Aills alleged the surgeon failed to inform her of the risks associated with performing both implantation and a lift during the same procedure, which led to her traumatic injuries, requiring 13 additional unnecessary corrective surgeries.  The jury initially awarded Aills $825 million in 2006, but it was later reduced in a 2010 retrial to $2 million.

The case is Aills v. Boemi Case no. 04-003135CA in the Lee County, Florida Circuit Court.

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