Surgeon paid a settlement; should I be worried?

My surgeon recently paid out a $450K settlement. Is this a huge warning sign or could it happen to anyone?

Doctor Answers 10

Settlement

The fact that your surgeon paid a settlement may not have any relationship to the quality of your surgeon and his results.  Complications do occur in the best of hands and may have happened with anyone doing the surgery.  You should check with your state board of medicine to see if the surgeon has any sanctions and also check on the board certification status of your surgeon.  Also see if you could speak to other patients treated by the surgeon.  Good luck.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon


Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Payout

No this is very very common.Many times people expect perfection and it just doesn't exist.I would have a consult and see how you feel.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Settlements

Unfortunately, medical malpractice lawsuits are quite common.

We live in a litigious society, and doctors are often seen as easy money with deep pockets.

The average plastic surgeon is sued three times during his or her career.

Perhaps ask your plastic surgeon what the circumstances were in the nature of the case.

I would certainly not hold this against a doctor if they met all other criteria for being an excellent physician.

I may, however, be reluctant to take care of the patient who sued him.

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Surgeon paid a settlement; should I be worried?

This is not necessarily a warning sign, but it would be prudent to find out more details. All doctors get sued eventually and the longer someone is in practice the more lawsuits they will have to defend. In medico-legal cases, as with any other, there are tonnes of frivolous lawsuits and many reasons aside from guilt that someone may decide to settle a case. Before rushing to conclusions it is best to ask your surgeon for a bit more information. Hope that helps!

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Surgeon paid a settlement

That does not necessarily mean the surgeon is bad at his or job as a plastic surgeon. You must do your research. If you feel uneasy about this surgeon, then you can choose another one. Please be sure to find a plastic surgeon who performs at least 100 of these procedures per year. Read reviews, look at before and after photos, check credentials, etc.

Henry Mentz, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Surgeon paid settlement - is this a bad sign

Thank you for your question about your cosmetic surgery.

  • This settlement alone does not tell you that there is a problem with your surgeon.
  • There are many reasons for lawsuits and for settlements.
  • You can either find another surgeon - if you aren't sure of your choice.
  • Or check on your surgeon.
  • First confirm that s/he is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. 
  • Check with the Florida medical licensing board to see if complaints have been made. Multiple complaints are not a good sign.
  • Check the settlement - did surgery lead to death or serious injury? Not a good sign. 
  • Is this the only settlement?
  • With this information, ask to talk to your surgeon. Is the surgeon's version of 'facts' the same as what your research shows? If not  - that's not a good sign.
  • Finally, use your judgement. If the surgeon is not a Board Certified plastic surgeon and/or is pressing you to have surgery and seems more interested in the sale rather than answering your reasonable questions, the surgeon may be a problem for you.
Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Should a patient go off bio-identical hormone replacement therapy before WAL liposuction?

That is a very very personal decision you will have to make. Is your surgeon boarded? Does he have surgical privileges at a hospital? Are questions that are also of concern....

Should patient be concerned if surgeon paid a settlement

The history of a paid settlement shouldn't completely denounce a physician.   Occasionally, events occur and paying a settlement is cheaper than defending the physician even when the medical provider is innocent of malpractice.

Regardless, if you are "worried," then seek an additional opinion from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area.   

Best of luck to you.

Joseph Franklin, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Find out the details first

I would first find out more details about this, since you don't know why this occurred. Something might have happened beyond their control. Either way, remember to trust your instincts.

A surgeon who is paid a malpractice settlement is not necessarily a bad one.

There are many circumstances around medical malpractice. This one instance certainly doesn't condemn the surgeon. Nevertheless, even without this incident it's a good idea to get several opinions.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.