What to do when cosmetic surgery goes wrong
But what if you don't like the new you or it's actually worse than before? What if there were unexpected side effects or the surgical care was less than adequate?
If this has happened to you you're probably wondering what to do when cosmetic surgery goes wrong. It's important to remember you're not alone and there are steps you can take to make things right.
1. Wait until you're completely healed
You won't know how you're going to look "normally" until the healing process is done. However if healing is taking longer than expected or you're concerned with the way it's settling talk to your surgeon. They may be able to explain what's happening better and what to do.
When cosmetic surgery goes wrong you may find you're still not happy with verbal explanations so book in to see them so you can discuss your options - the surgeon will be able to assess you and give you options for revision surgery if necessary.
2. See your GP
If you're very concerned with any health-related aspect of your surgery then seeking medical advice from your GP might be a good idea, particularly if you feel unwell or the results are affecting your physical or mental wellbeing. In an emergency go to the A&E.
3. Talk to your hospital or clinic
If your surgeon isn't helpful or you feel the fault lies with the hospital or clinic where you had the procedure done then it's time to escalate your complaint.
Stay calm and discuss your problems directly with the clinic. Often there is an aftercare contact who can help you with your complaint.
4. Get everything in writing
It's a good idea to put everything in writing to keep a record of what was discussed and what options were offered to you. If you had a face to face chat, send an email later on laying out all the points you discussed and ask them to reply confirming your understanding.
5. Is the hospital registered with the Healthcare Commission?
By law all hospitals and clinics offering surgical procedures that are invasive must be registered with the Care Quality Commission. You can check your hospital is registered on the Care Quality Commission website which carries out reviews of standards for the government and shares the info with the public.
Find out what the government standards for healthcare are.
If you think there is proof that the current standards and regulations were not met then contact the Care Quality Commission on 0845 6013012 or write to them at The Healthcare Commission, Finsbury Tower, 103-105 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TG
6. Was your surgery carried out with "reasonable care and skill?"
As cosmetic surgery falls under "buying services" it's regulated by the Consumer Bill of Rights - this means the work must be carried out with "reasonable care and skill".
To prove this isn't the case talk to the associations that your provider belongs to - all surgeons must be registered with the General Medical Council, hospitals and clinics must be registered with the Care Quality Commission.
You may also get advice from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons if your surgeon is a member or The Independent Healthcare Advisory Service (IHAS) of which many private hospitals and clinics are members.
7. Your Consumer Rights
The Citizen's Advice Bureau can help guide you through your legal rights as a consumer but there's things expected of you too - if you follow the steps correctly you'll have a better chance of proving your case in court, should it come to that.
1) As stated above you must first prove that the work was not carried out with reasonable care and skill.
2) Under the Consumer Bill of Right's you should first ask the original surgeon or hospital to repair the work. If the case came to court you may have been expected to do this unless it was an emergency and it couldn't be avoided.
3) If the surgeon can't or won't help you then you should pay them for what they've done and see if another provider can help you. You might be able to get compensation for the additional work and any money you've lost through being off work but you would need to take your case to court.
Contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau to see if they can help you.
8. How to get compensation
If you have a case for malpractice or medical negligence and you want compensation then it's best to speak to a solicitor.
As every case is different it's impossible to say whether you have grounds for suing but an experienced solicitor will be able to explain it all and guide you through the process.
You can find a solicitor that's registered with the Law Society's Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme by inputting your post code, country and choosing clinical negligence as the area of law - this means they have at around three years' experience and training in clinical negligence cases.
Though some firms will offer "no win, no fee" deals make sure you go with a reputable firm and that you understand all the small print before you agree to anything!
9. If you can't afford a solicitor
You can contact Action against Medical Accidents. It's a charity that provides free and confidential advice following a medical accident. They may be able to help you get justice. Call free helpline on 0845 123 2352 (open Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm).
10. Report rogue surgeons to the General Medical Council
If you think you have grounds then talk to the GMC about reporting your surgeon. They have the power to either issue a warning to a doctor, remove the doctor from the register, suspend or place conditions on a doctor's registration
Check out the General Medical Council website for more details.