Medical Malpractice in the Pursuit of Beauty

Published on May 29th, 2018

Medical malpractice for plastic surgery in MichiganJust because a cosmetic surgeon claims to be an expert or a “doctor to the stars” does not make it true. Icilma Cornelius sadly learned this lesson the hard way. She went to Dr. Windell Boutte in Lilburn, Georgia, in preparation for her wedding. Cornelius opted for Botox and anti-wrinkle treatments and, while at the office, the staff recommended a surgery that would give her a flat stomach. The bride’s decision to undergo this surgery changed her life forever and led to her family’s filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Cornelius never saw her wedding day because her heart stopped at the eight-hour mark of her surgery in Boutte’s medical office, an office that was ill-equipped to handle a medical emergency. In the time it took for staff to call 911, wait for paramedics, and be transported to the hospital, Cornelius suffered from lack of oxygen, which left her with permanent brain damage and the inability to care for herself.

Falsified Doctor Qualifications, Unlicensed Surgery Centers

Boutte touted her office as a full-service medical spa and cosmetic surgery center (whose website BoutteContour has been taken down). She advertised that she is board-certified in surgery and dermatology, but she is only a board-certified dermatologist, not a board-certified plastic surgeon or general surgeon. This lack of qualifications is only part of the problem.

In Georgia, it is legal for a doctor to perform an operation in a medical office or outpatient surgery center rather than a hospital or licensed surgery center. Legal, however, does not mean safe. The critical piece is this: A loophole in Georgia’s state law permits doctors to practice other specialties unlicensed. Medical board “guidelines” can be overlooked because they are not enforced. And facilities do not have to undergo a rigorous compliance process if they choose to operate without a license.

Carrying out a surgery away from an operating room can lead to disaster when an unexpected complication or emergency occurs, as it did with Cornelius. Boutte alleged in a deposition that it was an allergy that cause her patient’s problem and not any shortcomings in medical care. Why the patient’s heart stopped is not the question to be answered in this case, though – it’s why the surgery center was not prepared for such an emergency.

Doctor of Dermatology Does Not Mean Doctor of Everything

Strategic marketing – e.g., “Atlanta’s leading cosmetic surgeon” – can trick people into believing they are visiting a highly trained and respected cosmetic surgeon. One weekend course on lipo, for instance, does not make a qualified surgeon. And joining an important-sounding but unrecognized plastic surgery organization and plastering their logo on your website does not legitimize a surgery center.

Cornelius’s medical malpractice case has been settled for a confidential amount. Her case is only one of at least seven malpractice lawsuits against Boutte, alleging unqualified and unlicensed staff, misleading information about surgeries, cutting corners, and lack of supervision by Boutte, along with the poorly equipped and unsafe facilities and seeming lack of legitimate training.

Are You Ready to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Michigan?

Patient safety should be at the top of any surgery center’s list of priorities. If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a poorly trained surgeon, ill-equipped medical facilities, or unsafe medical procedures, consult with a Michigan medical malpractice attorney to learn more about seeking compensation for your case. Contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today.

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