In the summer we wrote “Being Prepared for Cosmetic Surgery” (August 1, 2008).
During this last week we had a client come to us, and the client brought home some of the lessons of that prior post.
Susie, an attractive lady, had a breast reduction and tummy tuck with a cosmetic surgeon, James J. Reardon, M.D. Susie’s breasts and stomach were reduced, however, as a result of the surgery Susie’s breasts were scarred permanently and significantly.
Susie found Dr. Reardon through an advertisement. She did not seek referrals from family and friends. The surgery was done in the doctor’s office although he claimed to be affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital. About one year after the surgery Dr. Reardon was brought-up on disciplinary charges that he performed surgery while “impaired.” In so many words, the doctor performed surgery while intoxicated from either drugs or alcohol. Dr. Reardon admitted the charges, and he surrendered his medical license.
Upon investigation we determined that Dr. Reardon failed to carry insurance. Additionally, he is broke. There are a number of other cases against the former doctor. Therefore, a medical malpractice recovery is unlikely. In our informal conversations with his attorney it appears that Dr. Reardon allowed his addiction problem to overtake his life. Therefore, Susie cannot pursue a medical malpractice case against Dr. Reardon. A recovery would be very unlikely.
Some of the lessons learned:
- Get a referral from a family member or friend who has used the surgeon;
- Make sure that the surgeon is properly accredited and board certified;
- Be wary if the surgery is to be done in a private surgery facility or the doctor’s office rather than a hospital in the event of unforeseeable complications during the surgery;
- Be sure that you are having the surgery for the right reasons and that you have reasonable expectations;
- Be sure to talk to the surgeon about the forseeable risks, and do some independent research on your own; and
- Get a full preoperative work-up to make sure that you do not have any medical conditions which can complicate the surgery and that you can withstand the surgery and anesthesia.
If you have been injured in a cosmetic or plastic surgery, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434.
Mark E. Seitelman, 11/2/08, www.seitelman.com.