Physician Licensing and Litigation Defense from Brazilian Butt Lift Complications

Healthcare attorneys in front of the Board of Medicine for Physician licensing and litigation defense from brazillian butt lifts.

The intra-gluteal fat transfer, colloquially known as the Brazilian Butt Lift, or “BBL” is enjoying explosive popularity in Florida, and the market shows no sign of slowing down. It’s being treated as a gold-rush both by opportunistic plastic surgeons and less specialized practitioners all over the state. But the cost of enhanced assets doesn’t end with money. It’s one of the most dangerous procedures currently on the market, and the death toll is climbing. At several recent Board of Medicine meetings, we’ve watched an increasingly (and vocally) exasperated panel of physicians pass judgment on one after another of their colleagues, each of whom has found him or herself in the hot seat, answering for the death of yet another BBL patient. The Board all too readily acknowledges that their patience is wearing thin. For doctors and physicians, this translates to potential risks to their license and practice. As a result, physician licensing and litigation defense has now become an ever increasing factor that all practitioners in this field should be thinking about.

Even though BBL’s are legal in Florida, our goal in this article is to shed some light on the risks to physicians associated with this practice, and how ignoring the high risk and mounting death toll of procedures in evaluating the standard of care provided can be a critical mistake.

Allegedly or otherwise, falling short of the standard of care required will usually result in two things (which can happen in either order): a malpractice lawsuit, and an administrative complaint by the Department of Health. The former is a civil action, and the solution is financial loss. While a human life is not cheaply compensated, certain losses managed through insurance. That said, this is where uninsured doctors and physicians could run into issues.

Table of Contents

How does Standard of Care Work in Conjunction with BBL Procedures?

As with every procedure, the standard of care in regard to Brazilian Butt Lift procedures is meant to ensure that the surgery is performed with the highest level of safety, competence, and professionalism.

Adhering to the standard of care involves meticulous attention to detail before, during, and after the procedure to minimize risks and enhance patient outcomes. Adherence to the standard of care can be a strong defense in malpractice cases, but is an issue which will be contested on the evidence, which is why it does not guarantee immunity from legal action as it is not a safe harbor.

What Should Physicians Know About Civil Litigation in BBL Malpractice Lawsuits?

Physicians performing Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedures need to be aware of the potential for civil litigation due to claims of malpractice. Such lawsuits can arise when patients allege harm from negligence or substandard care. These legal actions can be time-consuming, costly, and damaging to a physician’s reputation and career. Physicians can expect a thorough examination of their medical practices, including scrutiny of patient records, surgical techniques, and adherence to postoperative care protocols.

To prevent litigation, it is essential for physicians to maintain comprehensive documentation of all patient interactions, informed consent processes, and procedural details. Adhering to established medical guidelines and staying updated on best practices for BBL procedures are critical steps. Effective communication with patients about the risks and realistic outcomes of the procedure can also help mitigate legal risks.

In the event of a lawsuit, and/or disciplinary action, physicians should engage experienced legal counsel specializing in medical malpractice defense. A strong defense typically involves demonstrating that the care provided met the standard of care through meticulous documentation and expert testimony.

Risks Physicians Face from the Board of Medicine When Practicing BBL Surgery

Physicians practicing Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery face several risks from the Board of Medicine, including a letter of investigation, administrative complaints, and potential disciplinary actions such as fines, suspension, or revocation of their medical licenses. These risks arise if the board receives reports of patient harm or non-compliance with medical standards. Adverse outcomes, even with adherence to standard care, can trigger scrutiny. Additionally, frequent procedural complications can lead to increased monitoring and audits.

Letter of Investigation

A letter of investigation is a notification from a regulatory body, such as the Department of Health or the Board of Medicine, indicating that a physician is under investigation for potential violations or misconduct related to their practice. It typically outlines the nature of the investigation and requests information or a response from the physician.

If the Department of Health, (to include its subdivisions such as the Division of Medical Quality Assurance and the Board of Medicine) ever receives a report that you may have done anything wrong in the course of your professional practice (meaning you may have violated the practice act), you will face an investigation which can very easily escalate to an administrative complaint.

Administrative Complaint

An administrative complaint is a formal charge filed by a regulatory body alleging that a physician has violated professional standards or regulations. It often follows an investigation and can lead to disciplinary actions.

These issues can snowball into other problems. Formal complaints can result in disciplinary penalties, such as fines, suspension, or revocation of the medical license. These actions can significantly impact a physician’s ability to practice, leading to loss of hospital privileges, exclusion from insurance networks, and difficulties in securing employment. Furthermore, public records of disciplinary actions can tarnish a physician’s reputation, making it harder to attract and retain patients. The financial burden of legal fees and potential loss of income can also create long-term financial instability.

However, If the situation is carefully managed and vigorously defended, you can survive an investigation or complaint against your license, even for a problem as serious as a patient death. If your actions can be defended on the basis that they met the standard of care, it may be possible to get an investigation or complaint dropped or dismissed. Otherwise, it may be possible to resolve the case, with or without a hearing for a more manageable remedy that allows you to keep your license and continue to work.

Should I Hire a Specialized Healthcare Attorney?

In short, the answer is yes. The board has the authority to revoke your license, and, even worse, the Prosecution Services Unit can pressure you into relinquishing it if you are not diligently defended against the administrative complaint. Remember; you don’t have to be guilty to be disciplined. Doing a good job is not enough. You cannot rely on DOH to be fair to you just because you always do what you think is right and reasonable.

It is because of this that it is important to hire specialized healthcare defense attorneys. Chapman Law Group has over 35 years of experience ONLY defending healthcare professionals and entities. We have specialized divisions for healthcare licensing defense which frequently tackle cases from the board of medicine involving letters of investigation, administrative complaints, peer review, and hearings. Complementing our licensing team, is our Civil Litigation team which defends physicians accused of malpractice.

We hope this article brought you value, but more importantly we hope it highlighted the severity of these situations in a way that made you more prepared in case a situation arises.  If a patient of yours has been injured in connection with surgical complications, if you’re under investigation by the Department of Health, or you’re facing an allegation that you breached the standard of patient care, reach out today for a free consultation, we would be glad to see what we can do ensure the protection of you and your livelihood.

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Joseph F. Iennaco

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