Doctor’s Liability in Plastic Surgeries Under Turkish Law
Under Turkish law, doctor’s liability against the patient is divided into two as doctor’s legal liability and criminal liability. Legal liability refers to the doctor’s liability for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages that a patient suffers as a result of the medical care.
To evaluate doctor’s legal liability, one must first categorize the legal relationship between doctor and patient. In this respect;
Medical treatment of a patient who is unwell is as a rule an attorney-client agreement. In an attorney-client agreement, the attorney does not guarantee result and is therefore not responsible from the outcome.
On the other hand, in case of a patient who doesn’t need treatment but requires a plastic surgery, the legal relationship between the doctor and the patient is not an attorney-client agreement but rather an independent contractor agreement. There is a crucial difference between these two notions: In an independent contractor agreement, the contractor is responsible from the outcome.
To clarify with an example; in case of a patient with heart trouble undergoing heart surgery, as long as the doctor complies with the rules of medicine, the doctor is not legally responsible from the surgery not going as planned and the patient not getting well. The reason for that is that in the attorney-client agreement, the doctor does not guarantee any result; the doctor only bears the obligation of diligent work. In other words, the doctor is only liable in case of malpractice.
On the other hand, for a healthy patient, plastic surgery on nose, face, mouth etc. is considered an independent contractor agreement. In this case, the doctor or the hospital with whom the patient enters into agreement is considered legally responsible from the surgery going as planned. The level of doctor’s legal liability depends on whether the rules of medicine were complied with, whether the doctor or the hospital has acted negligent and the degree of this negligence, if any. It should be noted that the liability in question here is not malpractice but a contractual obligation.
For example, a patient, who doesn’t benefit from a plastic surgery at all, can at least claim a full refund, even if the doctor and the hospital have not committed any negligence. In case of negligence, the patient can further claim treatment and surgery to reverse, medicine expenses, loss of income during the absence from work, non-pecuniary damages and transportation and accommodation expenses born for the surgery, if any.
When it comes to disputes and lawsuits arising from plastic surgeries, one of the most important subjects is whether the appointed expert decides in favor of the doctor or the patient. In lawsuits arising from plastic surgeries, appointing experienced attorneys will help both the patient and the doctor in terms of securing their rights.