According to research led by a doctor at Harvard Medical School, there were 174 cases of cutaneous injury during laser surgery between 1985 and 2012. In 146 of those cases, the patient’s physician was listed as a defendant in related medical malpractice suits. This was the case even though the physician was only operating the device in 100 of those procedures. Researchers concluded that physicians should be concerned about liability even if they are not directly performing services but instead are leaving it to someone under their control.
To complicate matters, there are no federal regulations as to who can use a laser during cutaneous procedures. Therefore, each state is left to its own discretion when determining who can use such a device in addition to how much training and supervision should be provided when performing laser surgery. When researchers broke down the overall numbers, they found that a majority of cases involved injuries during laser hair removal procedures.
They also found that hair removal procedures were the most common type performed nationwide, with 900,000 being done in 2011. In some states, there are no licensing requirements for those who conduct these procedures. Those who were injured complained mostly of burns, scars and changes in the pigment of their skin. Many victims also said that their injuries led to a lower quality of life and mental anguish.
Patients who are injured as the result of surgical negligence may wish to consult an attorney to discuss the possibility of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The hospital where the injury occurred may in many cases be named as a defendant in addition to the doctor responsible for the patient’s care. Injured victims may be eligible for damages that could include the costs of medical care and treatment as well as compensation for lost wages.