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Dr John Di Saia, an orange county california plastic surgeon

Plastic Surgery and Medical Malpractice

In my time commenting on forums here, there and everywhere, threads have become busy with questions of malpractice. I am not in the position to tell you if you have a malpractice case. I am not a lawyer. I do however have experience in reviewing cases for lawyers as an expert witness as well as for the California Medical Board as an expert reviewer. My understanding of medical malpractice is from a doctor's standpoint. It shapes that which I avoid in surgery. Then again I do not like unhappy patients. If I sense you will be unhappy, I will turn you away. This is good business.

People asking for an opinion online get only that and you will notice that my opinions at least are only offered in a vague sense. I cannot tell by reading your comments whether or not you have had responsible care. There is variation in the accepted standards of practice in plastic surgery. Some things that other surgeons do I do not and visa versa.

If you have a bad outcome or a wound healing problem, this is not necessarily malpractice. People don't understand that when things go wrong, it is not always because something was done incorrectly.

Sometimes people kinda "ask for problems." An example is the case in which a very small woman asks for really large breast implants. We all know that going beyond a certain volume for a given patient increases the possibility of a poor outcome. I turn these patients away. Other surgeons operate on them figuring that it is their problem. These rules are not carved in stone. They are all relative. So when the woman has problems later on down the line and complains about her surgeon, malpractice will probably not be found. I have had patients like this that I have turned away return after their surgery with Dr "X" blaming him for their ugly breasts. I had warned them of the problems of the really large implants for which they asked and refused to do the surgery. These women chose the doctor that would do as they asked and got that which I had predicted. Is that the other surgeon's fault?

Here is a very simple malpractice synopsis:

Medical Malpractice

is not

Bad Outcome

but is

inadequate training (didn't know how to do it)
inadequate informed consent (didn't tell you the risks)
error in technique (did it wrong) - very limited
error in care (didn't diligently follow test results, treat problems, etc)

These things are hard to prove.


© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon       

(949) 369-5932


Please note that this resource is offered freely to individuals considering plastic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the author's prior written consent. Understand that some of the information presented may be a matter of professional opinion. Although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, no guarantees are expressed or implied.