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When the surgeon is negligent, elective surgery can be dangerous

Elective surgery is still surgery, and can carry the same risks as any other type of operation. Errors in the administration of anesthesia, operating on the wrong body part and leaving surgical instruments inside your body, to name a few common surgical errors, can leave you with a permanent disability.

For example, some patients undergo cosmetic surgery, only to end up badly injured because of their surgeon’s negligence. In one particularly sad example, a young woman suffered severe brain damage while undergoing a breast augmentation procedure in 2013.

Though she probably did not know it at the time, her anesthesiologist was a convicted felon who had pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in Iowa in 2006. Amazingly, the Florida Department of Health allowed the doctor to retain his license with just a one-year suspension, as long as he worked under the “direct supervision” of another licensed physician.

Shortly after the woman’s 2013 procedure, her heart rate and blood pressure plummeted and she lost consciousness, according to the Duluth News Tribune. She was barely breathing. The anesthesiologist spent more than half an hour trying to resuscitate her before sending her to the hospital, where she was in a coma for weeks.

The lack of oxygen to the woman’s brain caused severe damage. Today, she cannot speak except for a few words and can only stand up for a few seconds.

A state investigation concluded that the doctor should have responded more quickly and aggressively when the patient’s blood pressure dropped, and that he failed to follow proper procedure to try to get her breathing again.

Patients must rely on their surgical team to treat them with the care and attention they are owed. When a surgeon falls below this standard, the risk of serious injury is high. Victims can take legal action to hold bad doctors financially responsible.

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