UK Woman Gets $10 Million Settlement From Faulty Facelift

Princess 19 on 7 Jun 2011 at 2:30pm

It takes a lot of anxiety and thorough research to make a cosmetic surgery decision.  Potential patients don't usually over-analyze the "what ifs" vs. positive end result.  But, botched surgery unfortunately happens.  A UK woman was recently awarded $10 million for her "facelift faux pas."

As reported by ABC News, Penny Johnson suffered emotional and financial loss due to a permanent twitch and drooping eye - a result of nerve damage from an ill-performed facelift surgery.  Johnson, 49, had originally sought treatment for dark circles and a rhinoplasty.  But her surgeon, Dr. Le Roux Fourie, instead convinced her to undergo a more invasive facelift.  Although Johnson did have revised surgeries, she still was left with uncontrollable twitching, grimacing, and the inability to shut her eye - all on the right side of her face.

"I don't sleep and I have a permanent buzzing around my eye which can be so intense that I can't think about anything," she testified in court. "My husband has a separate life with my son which I'm not included in. I can't be a wife anymore."

Penny Johnson before faceliftAccording to the Daily Mail, she stepped down from her consulting business due to the physical obstacles of slurred speech, drooling, and exhaustion from her inability to sleep.  Without Johnson, the business went under in 2009.  She soon fell into a depression.  The botched surgery, she contended, led to the eventual demise of her business, career, and marriage.  Her original lawsuit against Dr. Fourie in 2007 was for half the value of her consulting business, $87 million, which she shared ownership with her husband.

The surgeon did admit negligence.  However, the presiding judge reduced the revised company loss of about $32 million, resulting in the $10 million settlement in her favor.  Members of the cosmetic surgery community have scoffed at the settlement's size due to the risks of facelift's being apparent.

"It's a well-known risk that nerves can be damaged during facelifts. It's extremely rare, less than a 1 percent chance," said Seattle plastic surgeon and American Sociaty of Plastic Surgeons President Dr. Phil Haeck. "It's not unheard of."  He notes this settlement as "astounding."

This case is a reminder that permanent mistakes can happen.  We recently discussed a US lawsuit of a New Jersey woman who cannot shut her eyes from a botched eyelid surgery.  Her lawsuit is highlighted in an ABC News video adjacent to the UK settlement story.  The New Jersey case was settled at $150,000 - which the plaintiff considered "a joke" due to the ramifications of the permanent damage to her life.

To see that video, go here

Have you experienced a procedure gone badly?  What would you consider to be a "fair" settlement? 

facelift before and after photos

Photo credit: Damncoolpictures.com

 

Comments (4)

It's amazing what kind of trouble can be caused by vanity and narcissism
  • Reply
I think it's right for her to get what she can. You trust what the doctors says. He's the one who recomended the more invasive surgery. Not her so she trusted he could do it. He's a doctor!!!! I know what that's like, I trusted mine & I'm left with horrible scars & trying to have them fixed costs a lot & will for the rest of my life, but worse, it causes depression, anxiety every time you walk out the door & even at home just looking & thinking about it. No going places. You look out your window watching other people have fun. Doctors shouldn't recomend things they can't do, they do other procedures on the side. If their good at eyes they might not be good at faces but they figure, "How hard can it be? I'll take a class or two", then they can make a lot more money. You'll only know what it's like if it happens to you or someone you love. You would want them to get what they can to fix the damage & that can go into thousands but the way of life for them you is different. If they can fix it then they should, but if not you have to give the person the right to put their life back together. It's an accident, you get paid for accidents. For pain & suffering. It depends on what type of damage was done. Her side of the face was changed & who knows how much or long it will take to help her & insurance doesn't pay for Plastic Surgery mistakes, just the doctors does. Let him use it & put his name up on Plastic Surgery boards not to use him or you could be next.
  • Reply

I think this is a reminder to really think things through and KNOW your doctor.  It's always best to have an idea of what you want vs changing your mind for something more invasive. 

I wish the best for her as her life has surely changed!

  • Reply

It is heart-breaking to hear stories like this, but I agree with Dr. Haeck that we have to remember there are always risks with surgery. And this is elective surgery. Everyone hopes for the best, and hopefully doctors try their best. But at the end of the day they are humans too and will inevitably make some mistakes.

  • Reply