Class action possible for cosmetic surgery victims

Class action possible for cosmetic surgery victims

06 December 2021 By Naomi Neilson
Class action possible for cosmetic surgery victims

A class action firm will explore compensation options for victims of surgeon Dr Daniel Lanzer who allegedly engaged in several troubling practices, including serious safety and hygiene breaches and procedures that left patients in extreme pain.

Maddens Lawyers, which has commenced the investigation on behalf of patients who were harmed by Dr Lanzer’s practices, is calling for registrations from those interested in participating in a class action for compensation. The investigation will also extend to patients treated by another cosmetic surgeon, Dr Daniel Aronov.

Class action principal Kathryn Emeny said there is a wide range of issues that patients are reporting, including “concerns with respect to price gouging, a lack of information provided during pre-surgery consultations, complications arising during or after surgery and a complete absence of post-surgery advice and care services”.

“There are similarities that are emerging in the experiences patients are reporting, which means that there could be a case for a class action,” Ms Emeny commented in a recent statement. “This would enable impacted patients to come together to jointly pursue a claim for compensation. There is always strength in numbers.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

The conduct of cosmetic surgeon Dr Lanzer is under investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Medical Board of Australia after more than 100 patients came forward to share their experiences. This ranged from serious hygiene breaches and procedures that left them in need of further medical treatment through to ongoing physical and psychological issues.

Ahpra has already banned Dr Aronov, a senior associate of Dr Lanzer, who was the most-followed cosmetic surgeon on social media platform TikTok. Under conditions imposed on Dr Aronov, he is prevented from doing cosmetic or surgical procedures but will be allowed to continue work as a GP with Ahpra-approved supervision.

Simone Russell, a patient of Dr Lanzer, underwent a day procedure in September of this year and, in the days following, experienced swelling in her right thigh until it became “as hard as a rock”. In addition to the costs of the actual procedure, Ms Russell said she is now left with the financial burden of after-care treatments.

“I can’t bend my right leg, it’s painful, swollen and discoloured,” Ms Russell said. “I’ve contacted Dr Lanzer’s clinic numerous times about the ongoing problems I’m experiencing. Everyone at the clinic is dismissive of my concerns. I’m left without answers at all and I’m not sure I will ever regain full movement in my legs.”

Ms Russell said she is supportive of the class action and would like to see Dr Lanzer “held accountable for the physical, psychological and financial damage” he has done to many of his patients. Ms Emeny said accounts like Ms Russell’s raised alarm bells and demonstrated a clear need for greater accountability for Dr Lanzer’s clinic.

SPONSORED CONTENT

“Ms Russel paid a premium for Dr Lanzer’s services but the standard of the care provided has been deplorable and she is now paying thousands of dollars in rehabilitation services to try and get back on her feet,” Ms Emery explained.

“People should not have to go through such a harrowing experience on their own. Often people hesitate in making a claim for compensation because it seems too daunting to do it alone or will be too expensive. The class action process overcomes these issues and I encourage any patient who has had an adverse outcome because of their treatment or who has any concerns to get in touch with us.”

Following Dr Lanzer’s exposure, led by Four Corners and Nine newspapers, Ahpra and the Medical Board have commissioned an external review into the industry and its marketing practices, which frequently leaves out important information. Although a welcomed announcement, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said it came too late.

ALA spokesperson and barrister Ngaire Watson said she is particularly concerned about the promotional practices that target patients, but particularly young women, with false, misleading or limited information. Often, the promotional materials do not include whether the cosmetic surgeon in question has the right qualifications.

“We have been concerned for some time now about the increasing number of people who suffer serious complications and ongoing injury as a result of elective cosmetic procedures,” Ms Watson said, adding onto last month’s statement in which she said ALA’s lawyers are seeing more and more people seeking legal help.

“It’s critically important that the messages communicated by cosmetic clinics make it clear to people, particularly younger people, that cosmetic procedures by their very nature are risky and can involve complex surgery.”

Class action possible for cosmetic surgery victims
Intro image
lawyersweekly logo