The Unhappy Cosmetic Surgery Patient — Plastic Surgery Hawaii

Cloning is the new hope

There is not a month that goes by that I do not see a cosmetic plastic surgery patient in my Hawaii clinic raging about how they want to sue some physician in Hawaii, not limited to plastic surgeons,  but sometimes others as well. They claim the doctor is the Devil in the flesh and sometimes worse. My readers know I don’t mince words and one thing is,  I will tell my straight up opinion like it or not. I will say that I have not met a plastic surgeon who has been busy or in practice a while,  who does not have some unhappy patients–look at the ratings. Anyone with more than two ratings has some complaints. If not- then that is strange indeed because if they only have happy glorious ratings it could mean something else but at least here I have seen every ones unhappy patients as well as my own.

Yet I just want to share some thoughts on this aspect we have to deal with. Its rather interesting as 99.99999999% of the time its more emotional rather than really malpractice. In Hawaii due to competition pressures among plastic surgeons there is a very high level of care rendered here. That is to say, Hawaii does not really have a bunch of bad plastic surgeons. All are rather good and having seen so many across the world I would rate them in the top 5% or at least the top 10%. Competition means the bad ones are weeded out quickly and leave the islands. I can speak with some expertise as I have been here a very long time and seen physicians come and go.

Hungry Lawyers dont help

What I do see is the emotional component come into play along with an occasional hungry lawyer. Of course lawyers need to earn a living too, but at times it has become rather ridiculous. Take the case of a lawyer who sent me an evaluation of a patient who had a small burn on the leg from spilling some hot oil at work on their leg and wanted me to really stick it to the employer with my expert opinion,  about how total disability would be required, it was only a small second degree burn  a quarter size ……. sorry not my style. Can no do ! Unusual and thankfully I do not see that very often. Yet it illustrates my point.

Ok well my blog  is not to condemn lawyers . most here I know are rather good and do not par take in such gamesmanship. My purpose is to discuss briefly what and why the cosmetic plastic surgery patients become unhappy and want to “sue their plastic surgeon”.  The most prominent reason is the plastic surgeon did not explain or spend the time with a patient that they should have and it was basically a communication problem.  It has happen to me,  as well. So what I do is send the patient if they are willing,  back to talk to their former plastic surgeon as a general rule. I am always happy when they can work that out. In fact,  I have gone so far with the patients permission and called the doctor and said “Hey knucklehead your not listening to your patient !” and usually they are shocked to find me saying this. Well the reason is simple, we sometimes get so busy we overlook this aspect knowing in our minds the problem  was normal healing  and not really bad and will straighten out with time, but fail to relay that to a patient. Patients I have learned are not patient.

Real complications

When a “real complication” occurs such as caspusular contracture where the breast becomes hard,  we may quickly acknowledge that , make a plan with the patient and fix it. Yet its the lessor issues such as breast implant which is slow to fall into proper position which we know well  is routine and we ignore or fail to tell our patients in way they understand. That is when the patient gets upset and leaves the doctor especially after they have consulted their friends, family and the like and claim “my god I have never seen anything like that !!!”. Also they have gone to the internet and compared their results drawing all the wrong conclusions.  This is most of what I see when an unhappy patient comes to my office from another doctor.

We call it the “practice of medicine”  for a reason

What can we do ?  Well I think in my case I have slowed down my practice to where I can spend as much time with patients as possible. I have discovered something as well. I enjoy my practice more, enjoy getting to know my patients more and have less people complaining ” he never spends enough time with me” . I am in a good position for that having practiced over 20 years and not having to worry about high overhead and bills like when I was younger. Well my skills are better than they were from experience as well so that helps quite a bit as well.

Well these are my thoughts about unhappy patients. My advice is to really give your doctor a chance to address the issue, if you do not feel satisfied first make sure he or she hears you and don’t just go out the door and say to yourself what a jerk they are. Many times the ones who have complained about me for example left and seemed very ok with what I have said. Later I come to learn they were irate and thinking what I could not imagine.

Well this is some random thoughts to share about “unhappy plastic surgery patients”.

Till next time


About Michael Pasquale

Dr. Michael Anthony Pasquale is one of Hawaii's top cosmetic plastic surgeons. Frequently an author of web information on plastic surgery, web development.
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