Jury Awards $1.2 Million in Botched Plastic Surgery Suit

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 5, 2009

A Cleveland jury has awarded $1.2 million to a woman who suffered second-degree burns to her face and neck during a botched plastic surgery.

Lauren Wargo, 20, was having a mole removed from her right eyebrow on Dec. 18, 2006, and was sedated and receiving oxygen from a face mask when the defendant, Bryan Michelow, MD, activated an electocautery "bovie," which started a fire in the operating room, according to the suit.

A Cuyahoga County Court jury believed Wargo's claim that Michelow and his corporation Contemporary Cosmetics, Inc., were negligent because he didn't tell the anesthesia assistant, who was controlling the oxygen, that he was going to use the bovie so that the anesthesia assistant would know to turn off the oxygen.

During the trial, Michelow blamed the anesthesia assistant, Cindy Kwit with Susan White Anesthesia Inc. The jury exonerated Kwit and found Michelow 100% responsible.  Wargo received $875,000 in compensatory damages. The jury also awarded Wargo $425,000 in punitive damages after determining that Michelow allegedly tried to hide the cause of the fire.

It is not immediately clear if Michelow will appeal the verdict.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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