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Untrained doctors performing plastic surgery

When we walk into a doctor's office and see all their diplomas and certifications tacked to the wall, we usually begin to trust them. However, in reality, those certificates might not provide the assurance you need. Throughout the U.S., many doctors are offering plastic surgery services, even though they are not trained plastic surgeons and it is leading to a series of unfortunate doctor errors. People in North Carolina considering plastic surgery should make sure their doctor is a trained plastic surgeon in order to reduce the chance of mistakes.

One woman went to a doctor to get a tummy tuck and face-lift. What she didn't know was that the man performing the surgery was an ear, nose and throat doctor by training, not a plastic surgeon. Now, she has large scars on her face and an uneven stomach. Even though the doctor's practice looked legitimate, it did not mean he was trained to perform plastic surgery.

This is not a unique phenomenon. Trained plastic surgeons have seen a rise in the number of people coming into their offices to fix botched surgeries. Apparently, many doctors are changing specialties because it is more financially beneficial for them.

What's most concerning is that this is not an illegal practice. There are no laws barring doctors from leaving the specialty they trained in to pursue another. Patients are paying the consequences for doctors' failure to indicate that they do not have appropriate credentials.

Choosing to get surgery is a serious and nerve-wracking decision, even when you know a doctor is fully qualified to perform a procedure. Trust between a doctor and their patient is essential. When something goes wrong during a medical procedure due to a doctor's negligence or error, it is the patient who pays the biggest price. Doctors have an obligation to provide the highest quality medical treatment. They literally have people's lives in their hands.

Now people will have to question a doctor's credentials in order to avoid often irreversible harm. That's something a patient should not have to do.

Source: The New York Times, "Ear Doctors Performing Face-Lifts? It Happens," Kate Murphy, Jan. 30, 2012

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