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Death may have been caused by surgical error


Thousands of Oregon residents undergo elective surgery each year, and many of these procedures are designed to provide cosmetic benefits rather than treat medical conditions. Plastic surgery is a lucrative segment of the health care industry, but patients considering a cosmetic procedure may be wise to remember that even minor operations involve an element of risk. These dangers came to the fore on May 16 when news outlets in Miami reported that a 29-year-old woman had died after undergoing a procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift at a South Florida clinic.

In this type of surgery, fat that has been removed from the abdomen, arms, legs and back by liposuction is injected into the buttocks. Patients generally pay about $13,000 for the procedure. The woman in question died when her organs failed after fat particles clogged her heart and lungs. Medical examiners concluded on May 16 that the fat had likely reached the woman’s organs from a vein.

Media reports about the incident quoted medical experts who claimed that a surgical mistake may have led to the woman’s death. While the procedure is fairly common and is usually performed without incident, problems during fat transfer are not unheard of. The 2013 death of a 51-year-old woman who underwent the procedure in Miami was also blamed on fat clots.

This case demonstrates how dangerous surgical mistakes can be. Personal injury attorneys with medical malpractice experience may initiate litigation on behalf of patients who have been harmed by errors made by their physicians or surgical staff members.