Honesty

I am sure by now many of you have heard of the tragic case of the woman who went to a Plastic Surgeon in Brooklyn for a discount liposuction and died. The important parts of the story are that she had previously undergone a heart transplant, and that after she died, her Plastic Surgeon allegedly changed her medical record to hide that fact.

While it is horrible when anyone dies after an elective cosmetic surgery, it is one of the very infrequent but possible risks of any procedure. Even if the surgeon does everything perfectly, this can certainly happen. Pulmonary emboli, fat emboli, cardiac events and strokes can occur in the perioperative period regardless of the type of surgery. The problems with this case are the fact that she was a transplant patient, had an office procedure, and her doctor changed her chart after.

I have operated on patients after liver transplant and kidney transplants for all types of procedures. I always contact the primary care and transplant team prior to accepting the patient to determine if it is safe and where the best place to perform the operation would be. Medication management around the procedure is also key. I do not believe this happened here.

Changing a medical record is against regulations and law. The chart is a record of patient care meant to tell the story to whoever needs to know what occurred. It is never 100% perfect, as you cannot transcribe every single word exchanged between you and your patient and all of your staff. It should be accurate, though.
Please be careful when you select a Plastic Surgeon for your procedure, and make sure he/she is doing the right thing for you, not for their financial benefit. If something feels off, do not bargain hunt. You only have one life.


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