Class action brought against Australia’s largest cosmetic institute
By SOPHIA GOLOVANEVSKAYA
A class action has recently been brought up in the New South Wales Supreme Court against the Australian Cosmetic Institute, with hundreds of women claiming negligence during medical procedures. Complications such as heart attacks, seizures, infections, chest wall deformities, pain, discomfort and psychiatric injuries have all been reported as direct side effects of breast augmentation surgeries.
The institute has previously been under fire regarding their surgical accuracy and the quality of their implants. However, the recent case is much more serious, alleging that the company had breached its duty of care to its patients by adopting a “one size fits all” method in breast augmentation, where the same surgical techniques were used regardless of the women’s chest sizes or breast shapes. When postoperative problems arose, the company attempted to blame poor outcomes and serious medical complications on the women’s own anatomies.
On their website, the Cosmetic Institute claim to make their patients “look and feel better than [they] ever thought possible”, all while offering “the highest standards of surgical care”.
The institute’s “one size fits all” approach puts its patients at an extremely high risk of multiple and serious complications, including mispositioning or ripping of implants, excessive tissue trauma, haemorrhage, infection, scarring, and anaesthetic toxicity which may lead to heart attacks, pneumothorax (collapsing of the lung/s), and death.
The institute has also been accused of failing to properly train and supervise its surgeons and anaesthetists, as well as having failed to implement suitable infection control procedures, and perform surgical procedures in accordance with essential Australian national standards.
The group of five women who brought the case forward include two mothers from Western Australia and New South Wales who suffered a heart attack and seizures after receiving fatefully high doses of local anaesthetic, and a Queensland student who required emergency surgery after having developed a severe postoperative infection. The group is also taking direct action against Sydney TCI director and plastic surgeon Dr Eddy Dona, claiming that he is responsible for designing and implementing the company’s approaches to breast augmentation surgery, as well as supervising and training the doctors.
Representing the group of women is Sally Gleeson, a Turner Freeman partner who specialises in medical negligence. Ms Gleeson says while these women believed they were being treated by skilled surgeons with the appropriate training, the reality of the situation was quite different.
“The Cosmetic Institute has left a trail of victims who were promised top-quality cosmetic surgery in a highly advanced medical setting…instead [they] have suffered serious injuries and ongoing pain and suffering as a result of their treatment[s],” she says.
In many cases, women who had breast augmentation at TCI needed a number of additional corrective surgeries to rectify the damages done to their physical health and wellbeing. Others had to seek ongoing psychiatric support for mental trauma. The group of women, along with their legal team, believe that every patient deserves quality treatment and post operation care.
“This class action is about delivering justice for this large group of women who continue to suffer from the impact of TCI’s failures to appropriately and safely carry out these procedures,” Ms Gleeson says.