What do a cardiologist, oncologist and emergency room physician have in common? All three performed plastic surgery without board certification in plastic surgery and all three are facing severe legal charges. You may think you're in good hands just because you're seeing a doctor, but a Detroit plastic surgeon advises you to think twice. In a recent interview with CNN, he gave some harrowing examples of so-called medical care gone wrong:
• A Michigan oncologist was accused of administering chemo to patients who had no chance of survival and misdiagnosing patients, so he could charge for expensive treatments.
• An Ohio spine surgeon was indicted for persuading patients to undergo treatments for millions of dollars that they didn't need. It is alleged that he told patients their heads would fall off without his surgery.
• A middle-aged woman was left with scarred legs, resembling a burn, after unnecessary laser liposuction by a cardiologist. Another was abandoned by her ENT surgeon after undergoing a lunchtime facelift and getting a staph infection. A botched tummy tuck by an emergency room physician left a woman with a scarred, lumpy abdomen.
The Detroit plastic surgeon handles many secondary problems created by plastic surgery at the hands of untrained doctors. He advises everyone seeking medical care to avoid problems by first doing research:
• Research your doctor online using doctor-rating websites. Check with your state's Board of Medicine to determine whether your physician has had his or her license suspended or revoked.
• Make sure your doctor isn't practicing outside the field he or she has trained for. In the field of plastic surgery, you may encounter doctors who leave their specialties to masquerade as cosmetic surgeons.
• If you're considering plastic surgery, make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, or better yet, is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). If you're considering facial plastic surgery, then the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery is considered an equivalent in all states.
• Ask a nurse or other hospital support staff. Hospital workers know who the good and bad doctors are in town.
• Get a second opinion. Ask your primary care physician what he or she thinks or get a second opinion from another specialist in the same field.
Finally, keep in mind that most doctors are honest, ethical people who put patient interests first. You just don't read about them.
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