Last year, a woman named “Joan” went to a Beverly Hills doctor for a face-lift with disastrous consequences.
As she told the The New York Times, she assumed the doctor was qualified to the perform the procedure. After all, he said he was board-certified.
What she – and many other patients throughout the country – did not understand was that board-certified could mean any number of specialties in medicine.
Sadly, her doctor was board-certified in ear, nose and throat procedures – not plastic surgery – and she was severely harmed as a result. She had to see several specialists to remove the thick scars that now line her face.
There is a disturbing trend among general practice doctors now offering cosmetic surgery to boost income:
With declining insurance reimbursements, more doctors, regardless of specialty, are expanding their practices to include lucrative cosmetic procedures paid for out of pocket by patients. It’s now common to find gynecologists offering breast augmentation, ophthalmologists doing liposuction, even family practice physicians giving Botox injections.
The result, according to certified plastic surgeons, is an increasing number of dissatisfied, even disfigured, patients.
Said attorney Michael Freedland of Florida to the Times:
“Not only are the doctors not properly trained in plastic surgery, but they are also operating in facilities, like tanning salons and med spas, that are not equipped to handle a medical emergency,” he said. “The best they can do for you if things go wrong is call 911, and sometimes they don’t even do that.”
Advice for Virginia patients: Patients can protect themselves in nursing homes and hospitals by checking a doctor’s background – just ask, or go online to research their license status, board certifications, and education.
The few minutes you spend educating yourself about your doctor will help you make the right decision about choosing your health care provider.