Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Surgeon failed to give adequate information on the procedure before asking for the patient's consent"

This news is not related to an ETS surgery but I am copying it here because I believe there are similarities between this complaint and those made about Auckland ETS surgeon Murray MacCormick.

In addition, although the HDC found the surgeon to be seriously at fault in this case, having breached two sections of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights, the disciplinary action ordered of him is, in my opinion, pathetic.

Facelift leaves woman 'humiliated'

A plastic surgeon has been ordered to apologise to a patient after a facelift left her feeling "inadequate, humiliated and insignificant".

The names of the patient, surgeon and clinic have all been suppressed, but a decision released today by Health and Disabilities Commissioner Anthony Hill found the surgeon failed to give adequate information on the procedure before asking for the patient's consent.

The 49-year-old woman, known as Mrs A, visited the surgeon, Dr B, in July 2008, after seeking help for premature aging.

In a 45-minute consultation the surgeon examined the woman, talked of the risks and recommended she be a candidate for a facelift.

No medical records were made of the consultation aside from a letter written by the surgeon to Mrs A on the same day, summarising their meeting.

After asking a number of questions via email, Mrs A signed consent for the surgery on August 26.

On September 9, Dr B performed the $31,000 surgery, which included an endoscopic brow lift, limited incision facelift, neck lift, pinch lower blepharoplasty and upper eyelid blepharoplasty at a private hospital.

In the months after her surgery, Mrs A said she was satisfied with the results, but by January 2009, her appearance began to deteriorate when the skin on her cheek bones started to sag.

Dr B reassured his patient the final result would not be visible until up to 12 months after the surgery.

However, in the commissioner's report, it said a follow-up consultation held with the surgeon in September "was conducted in a treatment room, [and] made her feel inadequate, humiliated and insignificant".

The findings said Dr B gave no reason as to why the surgery was a failure, but recommended corrective surgery at a further cost of $19,000.

Mrs A did have further surgery, carried out by a different surgeon, to fix the sagging.

In his findings, Dr Hill said the patient was not given enough information to be able to give informed consent.

"Dr B did not, either at the consultation or in subsequent emails, give Mrs A an adequate explanation of the options available regarding facial rejuvenation surgery, including an assessment of the expected risks, side effects, benefits and costs of each option."

Dr Hill also said a follow-up consultation one year after the surgery was far too long to wait.

"By three months, in my opinion, a stable state has been reached. Scars may still be immature, but swelling will have resolved, and any asymmetries at that stage are unlikely to resolve spontaneously."

Dr B was found to have breached two sections of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights: firstly when he failed to provide Mrs A with adequate information regarding the possible outcome of the surgery; and secondly when he performed the surgery on a patient who was not in a position to make an informed choice.

He was ordered to give a written apology to Mrs A.


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