It might surprise – or even startle – you to find out that Colorado does not require plastic surgery centers to be licensed or even inspected by the state. These medical providers are exempt from regulations that govern other ambulatory surgery centers because providing surgical services isn’t their primary function. The state actually lets these surgical centers police themselves regarding how much of their practices are devoted to actual surgery.
“It’s up to the physician to determine the scope of the services provided and whether or not they fall under office based vs. facility level care,” Lorraine Dixon-Jones, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told The Denver Post.
In fact, according to the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, only 20 states in the country require that plastic surgery centers earn accreditation or licensing.
This lack of oversight can be deadly. If you have been injured because of a plastic surgeon’s carelessness, contact a Denver medical injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Plastic Surgery Horror Stories
In 2015, a Golden schoolteacher went to a Highlands Ranch plastic surgery center for what she thought would be a routine tummy tuck and liposuction. Instead, she claims she was given improper medication and treatment that sent her into respiratory and cardiac failure. Doctors sent her to the emergency room, where she would be moved to intensive care for more than six weeks.
That is not even the scariest plastic surgery story to come out of Colorado over the past year. Late last year, Denver police arrested a 36-year-old surgical assistant who had been running his own plastic surgery center for about 18 months, pretending to be a real plastic surgeon. He performed a number of surgical procedures at his office, including face-lifts, tummy tucks, and breast augmentations, using only local anesthesia. Worse still, this so-called doctor has since been charged with sexually assaulting at least two of his patients during their procedures.
It is sad, but not all that surprising that a lack of oversight leads to abuses such as these. A lack of licensure or any kind of inspection process can give rise to negligence and recklessness.
Surgery More Popular than Ever
These nightmares come at a time when plastic surgery is more popular than ever in the United States. According to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spent more than $16 billion on procedures in 2016, a 2 percent jump over the years before and an all-time high. In less than 20 years, the number of procedures has skyrocketed more than 115 percent nationwide
The report broke down operations into two categories, listing the most popular of each:
Top cosmetic surgical procedures:
- Breast augmentation
- Nose reshaping
- Tummy tuck
- Buttock augmentation
Top minimally invasive procedures:
- Wrinkle treatment injections
- Hyaluronic acid fillers
- Chemical peel
- Laser treatment
“While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address,” American Society of Plastic Surgeons President David H. Song said in a press release. “Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they’re able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire.”
As with any booming market, this increased interest – and availability – in plastic surgery has attracted the attention of less-than-scrupulous individuals; whether it is nurses cutting corners, or people posing as experts to make a quick buck. Either way, in an industry worth this much money, it’s always a concern that not everyone is acting in the patient’s best interest.
Getting surgery of any kind should not be a gamble. But that is what it becomes for patients who trust these medical professionals with their lives. That obviously becomes a much riskier proposition if these procedures are performed someplace that is not even inspected by the state. If medical negligence has left you seriously injured or ill, you might be eligible to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact the Colorado medical malpractice lawyers at Burg Simpson by calling 303-792-5595 or fill out our CASE EVALUATION FORM now for a free consultation.