When a patient trusts a doctor, he or she places his or her life in the physician’s hands. A patient hopes that the doctor will exercise due diligence and inform the patient of any important information. However, this does not always happen. When it does not, this may present the potential for a medical malpractice suit.
In recent news, a federal judge has ruled that a Michigan woman is permitted to pursue a claim that a plastic surgeon used her as a subject in a clinical trial for a liposuction device without her knowledge.
According to reports, a doctor used a device made by the company, Invasix, to perform liposuction on the woman’s hips, arms, thighs and stomach. The woman says that without her knowledge, Invasix paid the woman’s doctor to test the safety of the device.
Invasix BodyTite is a skin-tightening device. The product has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
After the surgery the woman complained of "uncontrollable" pain and deformed scars.
Fortunately, a judge recently refused to dismiss the case under the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act and Consumer Protection Law. Under this legal theory, a plaintiff must show that he or she justifiably relied on defendant’s wrongful acts or representations and that the person suffered harm as a result of that reliance.
The woman alleges that the doctor failed to warn her of dangers and misrepresented the FDA’s approval. He did not warn her that the Invasix Device may cause thermal injury to cells, tissues, lymphatic systems and nerves. Furthermore, harm resulted from the use of the device. As a result, the judge felt that the case was within the ambit of the UTPCPL.
If a court ultimately finds that the doctor was medically negligent, the woman will be able to recover for any damages related to his carelessness.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Plastic surgeon can’t dodge lipo patient’s suit," Matt Reynolds, April 23, 2012