Laser Therapy Lawsuits Increase

A recent study published in the medical journal, JAMA Dermatology, brings to light a   growing number of lawsuits related to cosmetic laser surgery complications. A recurring theme in those lawsuits is that the procedure was performed by a non-physician. The study from researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) used an online national database of public legal documents to determine those that involved laser surgery and non-doctors. They found 175 claims filed between 1999 and 2012. In 43 percent, the error involved a non-physician. Somewhat interestingly, the percentage of cases involving a non-doctor as the operator has jumped significantly in recent years. The majority of cases involved facilities such as “med-spas” and other non-medical sites.

Currently, different states have different regulations regarding operating lasers for medical procedures. While some states only allow lasers to be operated by doctors, other states have no restrictions at all. Legally, any facility offering laser treatments must ensure that all laws and regulations are complied with. Practically speaking, even if there is no law or regulation governing who may perform laser procedures, sites that offer the service must have in place proper training programs, continuing education programs, routine service and maintenance for the machines, and other quality control programs. Being proactive will surely lessen the risk that a laser procedure goes poorly and results in protracted litigation.



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