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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    9

    Default Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Place

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California

    My question involves malpractice in the state of: California

    Hi all,

    I received a quote for a cosmetic procedure from a plastic surgeon in a consultation. In that appointment, I signed a document acknowledging all surgical procedures are non-refundable. Six months later, I chose to go ahead with the procedure and paid a $3500 deposit to reserve a surgery date. Due to covid, my date was canceled. The surgical facility re-opened (somewhat unexpectedly) and I was scheduled for the procedure SIX DAYS prior to the date of the operation. I hastily paid the remaining balance for the surgery in full in fear that my surgery date would be given to someone else.

    I received the informed consent documents a few days later, about 3 days prior to the operation. Upon reading them, I realized there were a myriad of risks that had not been shared with me in any of my prior communications with the surgeon-- namely that the procedure I was to undergo is THE MOST LETHAL cosmetic procedure in the United States by total fatalities and is BANNED in the United Kingdom due to the government's belief that the surgery is too risky to be performed safely. When I asked the doctor about risks in prior appointments, he only discussed the risk of infection.

    Mere hours after the documents were sent over, I promptly canceled the surgery and requested a refund. Had I been given that information at any point earlier in the process, I would have NEVER paid a deposit, let alone the full amount. The surgical center is arguing that I signed a document 6 months ago acknowledging procedures are non-refundable, so they are keeping my money despite the procedure not being performed. Is there any way to get my money back?

    It seems incredibly unethical that a surgeon would accept payment 6 days prior to a serious operation without properly informing the patient of the remarkably high risk of fatality. Then, once the patient has paid in full, the full suite of risks are finally shared with them. My doctor has given me the option to re-book the surgery at a later date but is refusing a refund. Him and his surgical assistant seem to be pressuring me to carry out the surgery, despite their knowledge that I am in no way comfortable accepting that level of risk for a cosmetic procedure. Is this ethical?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,941

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    This isn't a malpractice issue. You haven't had the surgery. My opinion about "ethical" is useless to you though I agree that the doctor is a scumbag.

    I suggest you start by filing a complaint with the CA medical board:

    https://www.mbc.ca.gov/Consumers/Complaints/

    Maybe if the state brings some heat down on him, he will reconsider.

    If that doesn't work, you'll have to sue him. No way to predict how that will come out.

    You can consult an attorney and see if it's worth hiring one to sue for $15,000. It will be quite costly. The alternative is small claims court. The CA limit is $10,000. If you go that route you'll be waiving $5000 to save you the cost of several thousands for an attorney that you aren't likely to get back.

    CA small claims help.

    https://www.courts.ca.gov/1256.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,890

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    Brazilian butt lift procedure?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    Brazilian butt lift procedure?
    Yes, unfortunately.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,890

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    From what you posted, you were not given the facts about the risks of surgery before you gave the deposit and you were not given the risks before you paid the balance. Therefore, you could not give informed consent to the procedure until after you paid. That is a form of fraud to get you to pay.

    You should seek some consultation from some attorneys about getting your money refunded.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
    Posts
    1,616

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    Quote Quoting bb12
    View Post
    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California

    My question involves malpractice in the state of: California

    Hi all,

    I received a quote for a cosmetic procedure from a plastic surgeon in a consultation. In that appointment, I signed a document acknowledging all surgical procedures are non-refundable. Six months later, I chose to go ahead with the procedure and paid a $3500 deposit to reserve a surgery date. Due to covid, my date was canceled. The surgical facility re-opened (somewhat unexpectedly) and I was scheduled for the procedure SIX DAYS prior to the date of the operation. I hastily paid the remaining balance for the surgery in full in fear that my surgery date would be given to someone else.

    I received the informed consent documents a few days later, about 3 days prior to the operation. Upon reading them, I realized there were a myriad of risks that had not been shared with me in any of my prior communications with the surgeon-- namely that the procedure I was to undergo is THE MOST LETHAL cosmetic procedure in the United States by total fatalities and is BANNED in the United Kingdom due to the government's belief that the surgery is too risky to be performed safely. When I asked the doctor about risks in prior appointments, he only discussed the risk of infection.

    Mere hours after the documents were sent over, I promptly canceled the surgery and requested a refund. Had I been given that information at any point earlier in the process, I would have NEVER paid a deposit, let alone the full amount. The surgical center is arguing that I signed a document 6 months ago acknowledging procedures are non-refundable, so they are keeping my money despite the procedure not being performed. Is there any way to get my money back?

    It seems incredibly unethical that a surgeon would accept payment 6 days prior to a serious operation without properly informing the patient of the remarkably high risk of fatality. Then, once the patient has paid in full, the full suite of risks are finally shared with them. My doctor has given me the option to re-book the surgery at a later date but is refusing a refund. Him and his surgical assistant seem to be pressuring me to carry out the surgery, despite their knowledge that I am in no way comfortable accepting that level of risk for a cosmetic procedure. Is this ethical?
    If the surgeon only discussed infection then he'd have only covered part of the risk but are you sure he didn't cover other risks? Do you have a copy of the informed consent documents that you would've signed? When you have surgery there are always risks and death is always one of them. Always.

    The BBL is certainly listed as one of the more dangerous cosmetic surgeries but from the reading I've done many of the deaths seem to result from surgeries that have been improperly performed in, shall we say, less than sterile conditions by doctors that are not qualified in foreign countries such as Turkey and Thailand. Additionally I cannot find any evidence that the BBL is banned in the UK although there has certainly been discussions about it.

    I would recommend that you definitely read your contract and pay special attention to the clauses that address payments and refunds. I can see the deposit being retained but retaining the $12K is sketchy and that, again, you should review your contract. You should also have an attorney review it.

    I agree that you will have a better chance of a successful outcome in Small Claims Court and that eating the $5K is better than a kick in the teeth.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    I'm positive he didn't cover any other risks. In my consultation(s), I did not sign any informed consent documents, so this is based off my recollection of the things we discussed verbally. I remember being so surprised that it was such a safe procedure (in the consultation) and then feeling like I had been kicked in the gut when I read that the death rate is the highest of all cosmetic surgeries (after paying, of course). My surgeon was the one who told me the procedure is banned in the UK, but I haven't independently verified that. To be very clear, he informed me of this AFTER I had paid in full and AFTER I had confronted him about the surgical complications he did not disclose. His response was more or less "Well, this procedure TECHNICALLY has a 1 in 3000 death rate, the highest of all plastic surgeries, and it's banned in the UK, BUT I do it soooo much safer! You have nothing to worry about! You already paid, so you might as well get the procedure done anyway!"

    I do have a copy of the informed consent forms I was supposed to sign, and they do mention the risk of death. My issue isn't with the content of the forms, but the fact that they were supplied to me after I had already paid in full.

    As for the contract.... I'm not sure I signed a valid one. I signed a patient price quote six months prior to my operation. It was not a sophisticated contract; it was a half a page document that contained a list of the procedures being quoted, the price for said procedures & the following 2 sentences: "All surgical procedures are non-refundable. This quote is valid for 30 days from the date issued." Nothing else.

    When I decided to book the surgery six months later, I only wanted to carry out only a portion of the originally quoted operation (about 75% of it was the same as the original quote). I was never given a hard copy new quote, nor did I sign any other documents. I was verbally told a new price & paid the balance for the surgery ($15,000).

    Since the original quote I signed was only valid for 30 days, my understanding was that I was agreeing that the procedures listed in the quote cost X and were non-refundable when booked within that 30 day window. I assumed that when I revised the list of procedures I wanted to complete, I would receive an updated quote with similar jargon that I should sign (likely with the same terms as the first one-- 30 days, non-refundable). But that quote never came, and I never signed anything else.

    Since I never signed an updated quote (or a contract) for the procedures I was ACTUALLY scheduled to receive, can I use that to argue for a refund? The original (and only) document I signed explicitly mentioned it was only valid for 30 days and did not have an accurate list of the procedures I was scheduled to receive. Solely from a contractual perspective, are the terms of that quote still binding 5 months past when it was said to expire and for a different list of procedures?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,001

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    bb12,

    In response to the other thread you started. You should be aware that no one that has replied to you, myself included, is a lawyer. We do have senior members but none of them have replied and if they do they won't be replying as YOUR lawyer.

    Quoting the NOTICE at the bottom of every page...

    The legal help offered in this forum comes from volunteers who may not have any formal legal training or knowledge, and all information should be confirmed with a qualified legal professional.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Plastic Surgeon Refusing to Return $15,000 Payment Despite Surgery Not Taking Pla

    Understood. I should have phrased my gratitude differently. I am thankful for the advice, regardless of who is giving it.

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