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Spike in liposuction deaths exposes safety issues

A new study suggests that the liposuction isn't any safer than it was nearly 25 years ago when it was approved by the FDA. According to researchers, liposuction has been oversimplified by popular culture and promoted without giving Americans a clear picture of the risks and dangers of the cosmetic procedure. Unscrupulous doctors, the dangers of anesthesia and the lack of regulation have created significant potential for medical injury and wrongful death involving liposuction surgeries in New York and nationwide.

Uncovering the risks of liposuction began with the examination of patient fatalities during routine liposuctions. According to reports, numerous deaths have been reported and much more could be done to save patients that unknowingly expose themselves to serious risks. Analyzing autopsy and toxicology records, the researchers found that there are hazards related to liposuction that most people do not realize.

According to doctors, fat cells are held together by a fine network of fibrous tissue. During liposuction, the tissue is traumatized and the fat cells can be picked up by open blood vessels and carried to the heart and lungs. This is just one hazard faced by liposuction patients. Other risks include local anesthetic toxicity and infection. In many cases sedatives are administered by untrained anesthesia personnel during office-based liposuction.

A number of medical malpractice claims have been filed against anesthesiologists who provided care for liposuction. Victims who suffered injury or death while under anesthetic suffered difficult intubation, inadequate oxygenation/ventilation, airway obstruction, burns, medication errors, and slow recognition or treatment of anaphylaxis.

Many physicians see the business as a cash flow and do not take time to assess certain risk factors of individual patients. They may also take a large number of patients without the equipment or staff to properly monitor recovery or identify complications. If you or someone you love suffered an injury or fatality during liposuction, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. An experienced attorney can investigate the facts of your case and protect your rights.

Source: Anesthesiology News, "As Liposuction Deaths Mount, Study Exposes Cracks in Safety," Michael Vlessides, Oct. 3, 2012

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