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Manhattan Surgeon Agrees to Pay a $2.3 Million Liposuction Malpractice Settlement

courthouse-blue-skyA Manhattan plastic surgeon has reached an out-of-court settlement to pay a $2.3 million liposuction malpractice settlement to the family of a patient who died from surgery complications. Dr. Sharon Giese operated on 32-year-old patient Adriana Porras on June 25, 2009. Two days later Porras died of a pulmonary embolism after a blood clot traveled to her lungs, according to court documents.

Court documents note that Dr. Giese did not return calls from the Nanuet, NY woman’s husband during the two days between her surgery and death, when she was suffering from chest pains and shortness of breath. Expert witnesses testified that had Dr. Giese returned the calls from the couple and provided standard care treatments, the patient’s risk of death would have significantly decreased. The procedure would also have been safer for the patient if it had been performed in a hospital, instead of at her private practice.

The $2.3 million settlement will go to Porras’s widower and their two children, to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

Liposuction malpractice settlement

Dr. Giese runs an upscale plastic surgery practice out of a brownstone on the Upper East Side. She even has a hospital-like surgery room in the office, for patients who prefer not to have their procedures done at a hospital.

Considered one of the top plastic surgeons in her field and popular with celebrity clientele, Dr. Sharon Giese has appeared on a number of television shows, such as The Real Housewives of New York, Dr. Oz, NBC, CNN, CBS News.

Liposuction risks and complications

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that while most patients are pleased with the outcome of their liposuction surgery, there are risks involved. People considering having this elective surgery are advised to weigh the risks against the benefits prior to making a decision on whether or not to have the surgery. It’s also highly advisable for patients to take their time researching doctors, to ensure they receive the highest quality care.

“Gather as much information as you can so that you make an informed decision about whether liposuction is right for you,” states the FDA. “Don’t believe that complications ‘only happen to other people.’ It is important for you to understand what the risks are and decide if you are willing to accept the possibility that it might happen to you.”

Potential liposuction complications could include:

  • Infections
  • Embolism
  • Visceral perforations
  • Seroma
  • Nerve compression and changes in sensation
  • Swelling
  • Skin Necrosis (skin death)
  • Burns
  • Fluid imbalance
  • Toxicity from anesthesia
  • Fatalities related to liposuction

The FDA notes that some studies indicate the risk of death due to liposuction is as low as three deaths for every 100,000 operations performed. Conversely, other studies report the risk of death somewhere between 20 to 100 deaths per every 100,000 procedures. Results from one study revealed the rate of death is higher in liposuction surgeries where other procedures are performed concurrently.

“It is important to remember that liposuction is a surgical procedure and that there may be serious complications, including death,” notes the FDA.