Uninsured Plastic Surgeons and Medical Malpractice
Would it surprise you to know that doctors are not legally required to carry medical malpractice insurance in the State of Florida? In Florida, which has become a hotspot for plastic surgery tourism, one of every five plastic surgeons is uninsured.
A Plastic Surgery Nightmare
When Detroit-native Nyosha Fowler woke up from surgery, she heard the sound of machines beeping and her mother calling out her name. Doctors had cut into Fowler’s belly after her plastic surgeon accidentally nicked one of her bowels during a liposuction procedure and injected fat into her sciatic nerve during a Brazilian butt lift. Hospital staff, in an attempt to repair the damage, had to place the woman in a medically induced coma.
Fowler required seven surgeries and four blood transfusions to repair the damage. The total out-of-pocket costs to her soared to over $1 million. Her health insurance covered some of the treatment, but when Fowler began her rehab, she still owed thousands of dollars, lost her job, and was evicted from her apartment.
In this situation, what do you do? You file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who negligently performed the surgery in an attempt to recover some of the money you lost and rebuild your life with a fresh start. That’s exactly what Fowler did. She hired an attorney who realized that her doctor, Osakatukei Omulepu, did not carry medical malpractice insurance. Recognizing that the chance of recovering any money by suing the doctor directly was unlikely, her attorney withdrew from the case. Fowler never filed the lawsuit.
When asked, the doctor reported that he opted out of medical malpractice insurance because it was “too expensive” but we’ve reached a point where it benefits doctors to not carry medical malpractice insurance while simultaneously harming their patients.
Florida’s Rules Hurt Patients
According to insurance data, one in every five Florida board certified plastic surgeons don’t both carrying medical malpractice insurance. While patients can still file lawsuits directly against them, they are more often than not left in the position of funding those cases themselves. Since personal injury attorneys work on contingency, they can only afford to take cases where there is a reasonable expectation that they will recoup some money for their clients. When a doctor does not have malpractice insurance, that money must be extracted directly from the estate and holdings of the defendant. If the defendant does not have significant assets on which to draw, they are judgment-proof. Even if the plaintiff wins their lawsuit and recovers a multi-million-dollar verdict, the doctor may be able to discharge the sum in bankruptcy. Even when they can’t, the plaintiff becomes the equivalent of a creditor and it requires more money to recoup the amount. It’s a loophole and it should be closed.
Talk to a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve been injured by the negligent practice of medicine, call the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney at Masterson & Hoag, P.A. We will file a lawsuit against the doctor and attempt to recover as much money as we possibly can.