Damages awarded against cosmetic surgeon for defective septorhinoplasty
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Kym Provan and Malcolm Johnson achieved a damages award of £55,000 for Miss A, a 33 year old hairdresser, who had undergone a septorhinoplasty performed by Dr Marco Moraci, a cosmetic surgeon working at the now defunct Harley Medical Group.
Shortly after the issue of proceedings, Dr Moraci returned to Italy and he refused to engage with the litigation as a result of which, judgement was entered against him in default.
Miss A alleged that Dr Moraci carried out the operation negligently and/or did not obtain her consent. As a consequence, Miss A underwent an operation with painful after effects, including bleeding. She was left with a distorted and functionally impaired nose, as well as constriction of her internal nasal valves and alar collapse on the lower third of the nose. She had a broad columella and narrowed airways due to alar reduction and lack of support in the mid third of the nose. There was obvious scarring to the columella and in the alar grooves. She was unable to breathe properly, either at day or at night. She also had to sleep with her mouth open, resulting in a dry throat and lips, and causing her to wake frequently during the night. Her voice had acquired a nasal tone. Her breathing difficulties had had an adverse impact on her relationship with her boyfriend and had also caused her difficulties in her work as a hairdresser. She had also suffered from an adverse psychological reaction, suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.
The original operation took place in April 2010. Miss A underwent a revision operation on the NHS in August 2013. That operation restored her cosmetic appearance to "normal" but Miss A was left a compromised nasal airway. She was advised that any further revision surgery would be “unpredictable” in its overall result. She was also left with residual psychological effects, which she was told, could be alleviated with cognitive behavioural therapy.
Miss A's case came before His Honour Judge Collender QC sitting in the Mayor's and City of London Court on the 23rd June 2016.
She gave evidence to the effect that whilst she was relatively happy with the cosmetic appearance of her nose, she still had difficulty breathing through her nose. This caused her a number of problems. She snored at night and did not attend the gym as she had done prior to her first operation. She said that if funds were made available, she would seek advice about a further operation as well as undertaking psychological treatment. Moreover she was still distressed by her experiences.
Judge Collender QC awarded Miss A £17,500 for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity, together with awards for the cost of her original operation, her loss of earnings, care, various expenses and future treatment. He also awarded her an additional sum of 10% of her total damages and punitive interest at 10.5% to reflect Dr Moraci's failure to accept an offer of settlement. Dr Moraci was also ordered to pay the Claimant's costs.
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