Cosmetic Surgery Death Leads to $1.95 Million Jury Verdict

Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

A Virginia Beach jury recently awarded a $1.95 million verdict to the family of a woman who died of aspiration pneumonia following a cosmetic surgery known as the "mommy makeover" operation.  According to the familys lawyer, the surgeon in this case allowed the patient to go home an hour after completion of a breast lift and augmentation, liposuction and a tummy tuck, although she was having trouble breathing at the time.  After leaving the surgery center, she later experienced dizziness and fever, as well as problems moving and concentrating.  A call from the womans sister to the surgeons office the day after the surgery was not returned. 

As more cosmetic procedures for any number of perceived or real deficiencies are being done in surgery centers instead of traditional hospital settings, more risks may become evident because patients are frequently sent home prematurely. Some steps available to patients that may help in minimizing risks of surgery at a surgery center:

  • check the cleanliness and professional appearance of the surgery center;
  • verify that the facility is accredited by a national agency, the state where the facility is located, or Medicare; (Not all states even require surgery centers to be accredited.)
  • confirm that the doctor is board certified in the specialty for your surgery;
  • ensure that the doctor is credentialed by a hospital. If local hospitals would not allow that surgeon to perform the procedure in their facility, the surgery center may be a haven for a non-credentialed surgeon.

I have handled botched cosmetic surgery claims for many years.  Without a good doctor performing the procedure in a sanitary environment with the appropriate equipment and staff, the patient will be at great risk.  Dont be afraid to ask questions before undegong any procedure.  It is, after all, your health that is at stake.

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washingtons best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at or call him at 202-822-1899.

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