Many of you may have seen the recent news story about a husband and wife who were convicted in the death of a Las Vegas woman stemming from a botched plastic surgery. The couple failed to get medical attention for the 42-year-old woman after she had an allergic reaction to lidocaine. The couple pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license, both felonies, plus conspiracy, a misdemeanor.
Stories like these are becoming all too common. In this particular case the culprits were held accountable because they had no medical license. However, in many other cases of botched plastic surgery, the doctor is not properly trained to do the procedure, but because he/she has a medical license it is still legal. If a doctor offers a procedure many patients assume he/she must be qualified to perform it. Unfortunately, many doctors who are not board-certified to perform plastic surgery are still adding them to their practice to make extra revenue. Only four states; Texas, California, Louisiana and Florida, have truth in advertising measures in their laws requiring providers to be more transparent about their training. In every other state, patients must do the work to protect themselves from under-qualified surgeons.
The American Society for Plastic Surgeons recently launched a campaign to make patients aware of the problem. It is vitally important that patients research the credentials of their doctor before they undergo any plastic surgery procedure, but many patients don’t even know what credentials to look for. One way Board Certified Plastic Surgeons can help is to make sure their credentials are clearly posted on all of their printed material, in their office and of coarse, on their web page. Be sure your credentials are large, above the crease (high enough on the page that viewers don’t need to scroll down to find them) and on the main pages of your web site.
Another way to help with patient awareness is to “like” the ASPS, and the American Board of Plastic Surgery on Facebook and link to their websites on your own. The more we help patients become aware of these organizations, the more likely they will be to ask a doctor if he/she is a member before agreeing to a procedure.