Q: A childhood accident left me with a scarred, crooked nose. After inheriting some money I decided to have plastic surgery on it at a private clinic. After the surgery, due to bruising and dressings, I had no idea what my nose really looked like but when everything settled down I was horrified to find my nose was still crooked, but in a different way.
The surgeon said nothing after the operation, but when I complained after the wounds healed he told me there had been ‘complications’ during surgery which meant he had been unable to ‘finish the job’. I don’t want to go back to him as I have no confidence in his ability to put things right. What can I do?
A: You may have a case for compensation based on negligence if you can show that the doctor did something that no reasonably competent doctor would have done. This compensation would enable you to go elsewhere and have further surgery.
Another approach which may be easier to establish would be using the consumer protection regulations. As paying for cosmetic surgery is ‘buying services’ it is regulated by the Sale of Goods and Services Act, which means any work must be carried out with reasonable care and skill. You would need to prove that this was not the case in respect of the work on your nose.
You should firstly construct a written timeline of everything that happened and what was said. Secondly, write to the surgeon who carried out the procedure requesting specific details of the ‘complications’ he claimed prevented him from carrying out the surgery to a satisfactory conclusion in line with what you and he had discussed prior to surgery.
When you have all this information you should make an appointment to see an experienced solicitor who is familiar with this sort of claim.