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Family Sues Clinic Over Death Of Plastic Surgery Victim

The family of a deceased victim of plastic surgery has sued the Weston clinic where she was operated on, BrowardPalmBeach.com reports.

Beware: A Nip & Tuck Surgery Can Go Wrong…

A liposuction performed to Kellee J. Lee-Howard, mother of six, at Alyne Medical Rejuvenation on February 23rd, 2010 caused her to die the following day of polydrug toxicity. Court records of the lawsuit filed by her husband, James Howard, allege that she died because the clinic failed to properly administer lidocaine.

Another patient, 38 year old mother of two Maria Shortall, died on June 11 from a liposuction performed at the same clinic. She stopped breathing halfway through the procedure and was rushed to a hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

Other Plastic Surgeries Gone Wrong

Unfortunately, these problems also occur at other local plastic surgery centers besides Alyne Medical Rejuvenation.

Melda Smith, a patient seeking a breast reduction surgery on January of 2003, came to the Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery. She was offered a “package deal” that included a liposuction and a tummy tuck in addition to the breast reduction and Dr. Roger Gordon, one of the Center’s busiest surgeons, operated on her. Despite Mrs. Smith’s high blood pressure, high cholesterol and under-active thyroid, all three procedures were done the same day. She was subsequently recovering at home when she lost consciousness and had to be rushed to a hospital in Pembroke Pines where she was pronounced dead soon thereafter of a hydrocodone overdose. Dr. Gordon had prescribed the painkiller. A lawsuit was filed and subsequently settled by Mrs. Smith’s husband.

Three More Patients Died in The Last Seven Years

Almost a year later, Jacquelyn Roberts’ died when despite her bronchitis, high blood pressure, diabetes and an abnormal EKG, Dr. Gordon performed a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. A complaint filed against Dr. Gordon by the Florida Department of Health for failing to obtain an adequate pre-op exam and for “an inadequate postoperative and follow up care” lead to a fine of $10,000.00 and 100 hours of community service ordered by the Florida Board of Medicine. Mrs. Roberts’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Gordon that was thereafter settled by him for $250,000.00. The lawsuit was also settled by the Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery for $85,000.00.

Shortly after that another patient, Lynn Kirouac, filed suit against Dr. Gordon for leaving her breasts permanently scarred when he performed a breast augmentation. She was subsequently awarded $109,000.00 by a jury.

After all these lawsuits, the Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery had no choice but to file for Bankruptcy protection in 2004. Subsequently, Dr. Gordon went to work as an independent contractor for Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute of Lauderhill. While he was performing a surgery known as a “Brazilian butt lift” on 35 year old Lidvian Zelaya in late 2010 at Strax Rejuvenation, a glob of fat entered her bloodstream and clogged her arteries, causing her heart to stop. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Florida Medical Center.

Unfortunate cases like this leave patients with no other choice than to seek the help of a personal injury attorney. Please note that it will be a lot harder to bring a claim for medical malpractice in Florida from October 1, 2011 on. The legislature in the Sunshine State just passed a new law that protects all health care providers at the expense of patients. In order to file suit for medical malpractice, claimants usually need an affidavit from a qualified doctor stating that the health care provider they are suing fell below the standard of care, this being the legal standard of negligence for malpractice in Florida. Yet, since in most cases a Florida doctor will not testify against another Florida doctor, a claimant will typically need to get the testimony from an out of state doctor. Under the new law, all out of state doctors who would testify for the plaintiffs have to apply for permission to do so from a State board. Nothing wrong with that, you would say…However, the Board can then discipline the testifying doctor if it doesn’t like his or her testimony…Why would any physician subject him or herself to such an inquisition? In two words: they wouldn’t. Consequently, Floridians and their lawyers will have a much harder time proving their malpractice claims, giving health care professionals and their insurance carriers a good reason to rejoice. And now that the new law denies redress to these patients, who will wind up paying for the treatment they need? Every Floridian. What can you do about it? Contact (call on the phone, e-mail, talk to in person, etc.) your State representative and let our health care and insurance industries’ friendly governor know how unhappy you are and what the consequences will be come election day!

If you or a loved one have been the victims of a plastic surgery gone wrong, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. The Miami Dade County Medical Malpractice Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano has throughout the years represented many clients involved in medical malpractice cases, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

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