Medical Complications from Minimally Invasive Procedures: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.
Medical complications from a minimally invasive procedure were in the spotlight recently, when supermodel Linda Evangelista went public to discuss the disfiguring complications she experienced after a routine fat-freezing procedure.
According to her statement, Evangelista developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, a condition in which the treated area becomes larger instead of smaller. This complication is believed to be caused by an inflammatory response to the fat freezing treatment.
Complications are unexpected events that happen even to your regular clients, and from the work of highly skilled technicians. They can range from burns, bruising, and inflammation to longer-term problems, like migrating fat or filler. An acupuncturist can accidentally insert a needle in a nerve, resulting in bruising and lingering pain. A deep tissue massage can damage fragile tissue in an older client.
Most of these issues can be resolved quickly with prompt treatment. However, Dermatology Times explains in an article about dermatologists and increasing levels of professional liability, “Due to the aesthetic nature of the treatments and spa-like setting where most treatments are performed, there is a public perception that medical spa procedures are risk-free. This misconception has contributed, in part, to the recent rise in litigation that has put medical spas in the legal spotlight.”
One of our co-founders, Sarah Tighe, experienced two separate incidents of complications, with two different businesses, which she details in this blog. A laser resurfacing resulted in discoloration of her skin; a lip “blushing” procedure (permanent makeup) left her lips scarred. She was a sophisticated consumer of cosmetic aesthetic procedures, and she hadn’t selected these providers at random. She’d done her homework and chosen technicians with good reputations.
When she brought her problems to the attention of the nurse who’d performed her laser treatment, she was informed that the complication was the result of her being “too tan”. Sarah realized that the practitioner was fearful of being sued, and so placed the blame on her, the client.
Needless to say, they did not part on good terms. The practitioner lost Sarah as a customer.
These are the most common reasons that wellness centers and medical spas don’t believe that they need additional protection from liability:
BELIEF #1: We have enough protection from our general insurance, professional liability insurance and malpractice insurance.
Your business is protected from a catastrophic judgment by these essential insurances. But your professional liability insurance or malpractice insurance can only cover the cost of caring for a client’s medical complications if the client decides to sue you. That means enduring 16-24 months of litigation, disruption to your business from having to attend depositions, and reputational damage from your ex-client’s angry reviews and word of mouth.
BELIEF #1: We have an excellent, highly skilled staff. Our patients don’t have complications.
The American College of Plastic Surgeons estimates that only about 1% of patients experience medical complications. That may sound like a small number, but it adds up to about 150,000 patients per year in the US.
And it’s like throwing a pebble in a pond. Reputational damage from a single incident can spread rapidly on social media. And even if a client doesn’t post a bad review or spread negative word of mouth, they are not likely to return to your spa. You’ve lost all their future business, as well as the business they would have brought by referring others.
BELIEF #2: We protect ourselves by having patients sign an informed consent before their procedure.
An informed consent doesn’t completely protect you from legal action when a patient experiences an unpleasant reaction or upsetting complications. Nor will it prevent a patient from making a complaint to your state medical board, or from posting negative reviews about your business.
Can the Right Insurance Actually Improve Customer Service?
If you’ve ever faced a potential lawsuit from an injured patient or client, you’ve likely experienced a feeling of dread. When you consulted your insurer, they probably advised you not to communicate further with your patient. Your attorney most likely gave you the same guidance. You may have even been instructed not to apologize—because that could be construed as an admission of liability.
That’s unnatural behavior for a company committed to five-star customer care. Traditional insurance forces you into an adversarial relationship with your client. It’s how the “system” worked. But that has now changed.
CoverWell enables you to offer the five-star care you’re committed to. It enables you to ensure your client receives the best possible service. And it dramatically reduces the risk of lawsuits. In the words of co-founder and veteran personal injury attorney Patrick Tighe, it “keeps you and your client on the same side of the table.”
What’s different? When your client insures their services with CoverWell, you can communicate naturally with them. You can refer them to a specialist for corrective care. There’s no fearful, “circle the wagons, stop talking to the client” mentality as you wait (up to a year!) for the lawsuit.
CoverWell benefits are there to be used. They are there to help the client recover, as quickly as possible.
For Clients, it’s as Simple as Opting for “Additional Coverage” When Renting a Car.
A CoverWell policy is similar to opting for extra coverage on your rental car. Yes, you have auto insurance, but using it can be a serious hassle.
CoverWell is purchased by the client at the time of their service. The cost is nominal, averaging about 7% of the service fee. There’s no cost to the medical spa or wellness center.
If the policy holder experiences a diagnosed medical complication from a treatment, they can promptly access up to $125,000 in corrective care. The coverage is good for complications diagnosed within thirty days of the service.
Because there is no cost, no contract, for the business, there’s simply no reason not to offer this option to clients and patients.
What businesses can qualify?
We don’t accept every business. But qualification is simple if:
- You are a spa or business that offers cosmetic medical, aesthetic, or wellness treatments.
- You comply with the laws of your state medical board, and/or your state board of cosmetology (if applicable).
- You hire licensed providers and train them properly.
- Your service providers practice within the scope of their license.
- Your business has a sound reputation for good customer service.
To learn if your business qualifies to offer CoverWell by InjectSure contact Kim Deorsey, President of Business Development, for your personal consultation: Kim@InjectSure.com