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New York women injured by unlicensed cosmetic surgeons

Surgery always comes with the risk of doctor or surgical error, but that risk increases significantly if the person performing the surgery is not a licensed doctor.

The New York Attorney General has brought a criminal complaint against two men for performing surgery without a medical license. The men allegedly recruited women from a spa in Queens, New York, and then performed liposuction and fat transfers on the women without general anesthesia. The women were left in pain and permanently disfigured from this unlicensed surgery. The complaint also names another doctor who periodically walked into the operating room during the procedures.

The men are also accused of performing surgery on patients in Connecticut and Maryland and neither is licensed in those states.

Elective plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. Because it is so widespread, and because of the casual way it's often brought up in the media, people may think of elective procedures like liposuction, as more of a fashion procedure than a medical one. But cosmetic and elective surgeries can be just as serious and complex as non-elective surgery and always require a licensed doctor. The fact that the surgeries resulted in permanent disfigurement underlies the serious nature of these criminal allegations.

Patients considering any kind of surgery shouldn't have to investigate doctors and hospitals beforehand. Practicing any kind of medicine without proper licensure is a crime. Injured patients can potentially recover money for damages including lost wages, medical bills, loss of future earning potential and for pain and suffering.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "New York AG accuses 2 of unlicensed surgery," April 18, 2012

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