A celebrity make-up artist, Tracie Giles, who suffered severe complications and disfigurement after liposuction surgery sued for negligence and won compensation after she alleged the surgeon had removed too much fat from her thighs. Tracie Giles claimed that Dr Alexandra Chambers removed almost seven litres of fat during a “grossly over-aggressive” procedure that left her feeling like a “freak”. Ms Giles experienced several medical problems in the months following the surgery and was left with lumpy, distorted hips and thighs that required fat transfer treatment from another plastic surgeon.
The Compensation Claim
The key issue for the court in the case was the nature of the procedure the parties had agreed to during the consultation process at the start. The High Court purportedly heard that Ms Giles had first visited Dr Chambers in January 2012 to discuss having her hip and thigh area contoured using VASER liposuction – which is a newer and less invasive treatment than traditional liposuction. According to reports, Dr Chambers told the court that Ms Giles had requested a procedure which would give her a sculpted and defined look and that “she wanted all her active muscles exposed”, a level of surgery which would involve the removal of a significant amount of fat. However, Ms Giles disagreed, stating that she had not agreed to this cosmetic treatment and had instead requested a more modest and feminine reshaping of her body.
A second consultation took place shortly before the procedure in August 2012. During surgery, it was documented that just over seven litres of fat were removed, although the defendant surgeon said that this figure was wrong, and the volume removed was nearer four litres. A few days after the procedure the patient claimant was admitted to hospital with dizziness and diarrhoea and, thereafter, had to undergo a blood transfusion.
The claimant patient then went to the defendant’s surgeon’s clinic in October 2012 for a post-surgery check-up. During this appointment the claimant patient apparently said that she was content with the results of the cosmetic surgery but both parties apparently agreed that it was still too soon after the procedure to see the full outcome.
Much later, the claimant patient noticed that her hips were unequal in appearance and that her legs were bumpy and mottled. Unhappy about the results of her cosmetic surgery, the claimant patient needed fat-replacement treatment with another plastic surgeon to improve the appearance.
The High Court Claim
According to reports of the case, the defendant surgeon was found not to be a convincing witness and was unable to satisfy the court that the Claimant patient had agreed to the more extreme procedure. The Judge said that he found it “extraordinary” that the defendant surgeon did not record the claimant patient’s desired outcome in any of her notes.
The Judge found that the defendant surgeon “chose to provide a liposuction procedure which had been neither requested nor required” and acted in breach of her legal duty to the claimant patient. He added: “I am satisfied that if (Ms Giles) had had a measured degree of liposuction applied to selected areas, as she had requested and expected, the amount of fat removed would have been significantly controlled, and she would not have had the consequences of this highly unsatisfactory cosmetic result which now requires extensive revision. The claimant is entitled to be compensated for the damages which flow from these consequences.”
The court ordered Dr Chambers to pay Ms Giles £154,301 in compensation plus her legal costs.
“This is a tragic case, which perhaps wouldn’t have happened had the doctor been clear with the patient as to what the doctor thought that she had been asked to perform at the outset. When undergoing cosmetic surgery, it is of paramount importance that the patient and doctor agree on what is being done and the prospects of achieving the desired result. The potential outcome needs to be agreed in writing, so that both parties are clear.”
Investing in cosmetic surgery is a big decision, with life changing consequences. For many, these consequences will be very positive, improving self-esteem and confidence. Sadly, though, when cosmetic surgery doesn’t work out, the consequences can be devastating on many levels. If your cosmetic surgery went wrong, you may be entitled to bring a cosmetic surgery compensation claim against the doctors involved. Compensation won’t make up for the distress botched cosmetic surgery can cause, but it can help you repair the damage and get your life back on track. Contact us at Truth Legal to find out more about bringing cosmetic surgery claims.
And if you have an ongoing cosmetic surgery claim but feel that you are not getting a good service, you may be able to switch solicitors to Truth Legal. We specialise in representing clients who want to change their personal injury lawyers. Please contact us for a free consultation.