Yes, in some circumstances. If your procedure was carried out by a plastic surgeon or registered cosmetic practitioner, you may have a claim for medical negligence.
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With the rise in popularity of cosmetic procedures and body modifications—from permanent implants to temporary injectables like filler—there has been a corresponding increase in the number of people looking to make medical negligence claims for botched cosmetic procedures.
For a medical negligence claim to be successful, you must prove that a medical professional breached their ‘duty to care’ to you. Medical professionals who owe you a duty of care include doctors, nurses and dentists, as well as public and private organisations such as hospitals. If a registered plastic surgeon or registered cosmetic practitioner botched your cosmetic surgery, they owed you a duty of care and you may have a claim.
Cosmetic vs plastic surgery
If you had cosmetic surgery or body modifications, these practitioners do not, unfortunately, owe you a duty of care. The Medical Board of Australia provides the following definitions as to cosmetic medical and surgical procedures:
Medical and surgical procedures are operations and other procedures that revise or change the appearance, colour, texture, structure or position of normal bodily features with the dominant purpose of achieving what the patient perceives to be a more desirable appearance or boosting the patient’s self-esteem.
What to do about a botched cosmetic procedure
If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a cosmetic therapist, such as a beauty therapist or tattooist that is known to perform body modification procedures, then unfortunately you do not have a medical negligence claim. Instead, you may be able to make a public liability claim for their ‘provision of service’.
You may also make a formal complaint to your state’s health ombudsman or health care complaints commission, who will investigate your complaint. On certain occasions, the ombudsman or commission’s findings can result in you having a claim.
Links to the relevant state complaints commissions can be found below: