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Cosmetic Surgery Gone Wrong? Our Solicitors Can Help

On 18th December 2013 Dr Olufemi Adeogba was erased from the Register of Doctors by the GMC following a Fitness to Practise Panel Hearing explains Clinical Negligence Solicitor Christian Beadell.

Dr Adeogba had been registered to carry out general surgery and plastic surgery in the UK from February 2004 however, following a string of complaints in relation to the standard of treatment that he was providing whilst practising as a plastic surgeon at the Birkdale Clinic in Crosby, he was referred to the GMC for investigation.

In chairing the Fitness to Practice Hearing, Dr Malcolm Phillips stated that “Dr Adeogba’s standards fell below or seriously below those to be expected of a competent cosmetic surgeon. The failings were wide ranging and occurred over a two year period”.

The primary concern of the panel was that Dr Adeogba failed to take adequate medical histories of patients and failed to give full information of the dangers of surgery. He was described as being arrogant towards his patients and not willing to listen. This as a consequence placed patients at risk of harm and in some cases patients did suffer a direct harm.

The Birkdale Clinic has been in the headlines recently as a consequence of the PIP breast implant scandal and in 2012 rebranded itself as The New Birkdale Clinic following a change in management.

The clinic however has not avoided criticism having recently been subject to adjudication by the Advertising Standards Agency in August 2013 which upheld a complaint that adverts being run by the clinic for time limited offers for cosmetic surgery were “socially irresponsible”.  

The ASA were concerned that this placed undue pressure on consumers to make a quick decision to purchase cosmetic surgery and stands as a timely reminder that cosmetic surgery services are becoming increasingly seen as a consumer based product as opposed to a medical treatment.

The concerns in relation to Dr Adeogba reinforce wider worries within the cosmetic surgery industry that some surgeons currently offering services are doing so with a primary commercial interest rather than concerns for appropriate medical standards.

We have seen a number of cases involving poorly performed cosmetic surgery treatment which result in clients pursuing cosmetic surgery claims and these are often associated with particular individual surgeons who are not subject to close supervision or monitoring. Greater pressure must be placed upon clinics offering cosmetic surgery to ensure that the treatment provided by their employers and/or consultants is carried out to an adequate standard.  

It is often the case that consultants operate on an individual basis, carrying their own indemnity insurance and the treating clinic may seek to separate themselves from any legal responsibility for poor treatment.

It is therefore very important that any patient intending to undergo cosmetic surgery does so with full information in relation to the experience, training and background of the treating surgeon and is also very clear of the position in relation to management of the concerns in post-operative follow up and the insurance position of the treating surgeon involved.

We would recommend that patients obtain a copy of any policy of insurance at the outset. If there are any problems with their treatment, and a claim becomes necessary, the insurance position will be vital.

In our clinical negligence department, we specialise in all clinical claims and have had particular experience of dealing with complications arising following cosmetic surgery procedures. If you would like to discuss any concerns which may arise from the issues addressed in this article then please contact one of our clinical negligence Solicitors.

Christian Beadell is an Associate Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. For a free consultation call freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.