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A tragic anniversary of a liposuction death

Most people trust their doctors. They trust that they have been educated, trained and licensed by the state of Georgia, and that their medical procedure will be handled safely with the appropriate level of care. When something goes wrong, we would like to think that the authorities would respond to complaints, investigate and, if necessary, discipline those responsible.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the death of a woman at a Kennesaw medical clinic. She was having a liposuction procedure. During the procedure, she began to complain that she felt "tearing and burning." 

According to employees of the clinic, who were present during the procedure, a rag was placed in her mouth to keep her quiet. The medical examiner found perforations in her diaphragm and puncture wounds in her liver. How has the Georgia Medical Board dealt with what appears to be wrongful death of this patient?

Her family notes that there does not appear to be any action being taken by the medical authorities. There has been no formal discipline against the doctor, and she is still practicing, in spite of complaints from employees of the clinic concerning the doctor's behavior.

A nurse who worked with the doctor said they restrained patients, who would wake up screaming in pain, and the doctor would continue with the procedure.

Another woman died only four months after the first woman's death. The family of the first woman wonders how many other patients may be put at risk before the board acts.

Board action is confidential and investigations may take a significant amount of time, but if you or a family member has been injured by the actions of medical personnel, you should seek legal advice, as there are time limitations to that may prevent a wrongful death claim from being filed.

Source:, "Victim's family speaks out one year after cosmetic surgery death," Adam Murphy, February 18, 2014 

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