Medical News Today recently reported on the rise of laser hair removal lawsuits. Recent statistics show that laser hair removal is now one of the most common cosmetic procedures carried out in the US. In 2011, dermatologic surgeons carried out 1.6 million treatments. With the boom of success, it is increasingly popular in non-medical facilities offering aesthetic procedures. Although many of these will be supervised by physicians, most of the treatments will be carried out by Non-physician offices (NPOs) with varying levels of certification, depending on the state’s regulations.
As with any surgery, common sense must prevail when choosing between a physician or a technician to perform the procedure. Even though it may be more expensive if you choose a physician’s facility, you know that responsibility and liability remain on the supervising physician, provided that the services rendered fall within the scope of duty of the physician extender. Drawing upon this theory, a recent study looked at how many many medical professional liability claims stem from skin laser surgery performed by non-medical facilities. Focusing on the period from January 1999 to December 2012, they studied data collected from an online national database of public legal documents.
The researchers identified 175 cases of injuries following skin laser surgery, with NPOs involved in almost 43% (75 cases). Laser hair removal was the most common procedure, with NPOs carrying out one-third of the treatments. Significantly, the number of lawsuits involving NPOs accounted for 75% of the total from 2004 to 2008 Then between 2008 to 2011, the proportion of lawsuits listing a nurse, medical assistant, technician or “intern” as the operator more than doubled.The study concludes:”A dramatic increase in litigation has been filed against NPOs performing cutaneous [involving skin] laser procedures in medical and non-medical office settings. This has important implications for the safety of patients undergoing these procedures.”
What is the lesson from this study? People need to do some investigation on who they pick to do laser hair removal. Their decision should not be based on convenience or cost. This is not just a haircut. Make sure you find the most qualified physician for you