As the popularity of medical spas has sky rocketed, so have the injuries and complications suffered by customers of the spas. Patients and practitioners alike tend to view the cosmetic procedures completed at medical spas as less serious than those of traditional hospitals. However, there are risks which mainly stem from lack of training and state-licensing guidelines. That’s why some organizations and legislators are pushing for stricter regulations and more intensive educational programs.
After visiting one such spa in Chicago, a woman was told by hospital physicians that she may need to have her leg amputated after a routine mesotherapy, also known as lipodissolve, went awry and left her with severe dry gangrene. Luckily, the infection cleared before that was necessary, but she is still left with severe scarring on both of her legs.
A North Carolina medical spa is being sued by three women who all suffered kidney failure due after receiving buttocks-enhancing injections that were reportedly administered without proper medical supervision.
And the FDA has reported the deaths of two people as a result of misuse of topical anesthetics during laser hair removal procedures. Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) procedures have also been known to casue permanent scarring, skin discoloration, and serious burns.
Fortunately for Massachusetts residents, state regulators are already beginning to address the problem. In a published recommendation, the Massachusetts State Board of Registration’s Medical Spa Task Force suggested that legislation be developed to require the “Department of Public Health to license medical spas for renewable terms of two years, similar to clinic and nursing home licensure already performed by the Department.”
Medical malpractice insurance companies are also helping to shape the industry; many are requiring physicians who are not formally trained in aesthetic procedures to attain accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits in aesthetic medicine before being eligible for favorable insurance coverage.
While all of this is certainly a step in the right direction, Massachusetts medical spas are not currently licensed. Nor are there state-required education criteria specifically related to aesthetic procedures. Nor is there an official “board certification” available for the field of aesthetic medicine, making it more difficult to discern which practitioners are reputable. That is why it is especially important that patients thoroughly research a facility before undergoing a procedure.
Medical malpractice is a reality, but the lack of regulation places patients who visit medical spas, wellness centers, and anti-aging clinics at a higher risk than necessary. Massachusetts needs to take action to protect patients and clients of these spas.
If you or someone you know has suffered complications or injury due to medical malpractice or other negligence, contact the experienced malpractice and personal injury law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 800-379-1244.