Dr. Beverly Carl was sued by a patient after utilizing saline breast implants rather than silicone implants during the patient’s breast enlargement surgery. Dr. Carl knew that Ms. Daly had signed a medical consent form for surgery that specifically required the sue of silicone implants. After Ms. Daly had been placed under anesthesia for the surgery, Dr. Carl realized that her office had provided her the wrong type of implants, but Dr. Carl went forward with the surgery after asking Ms. Daly’s fiance for authority to use saline implants in lieu of silicone ones. The patient, Brittany Daly, found out that the wrong type of implants were used after she awoke from surgery and was told by her fiance that Dr. Carl had asked him to agree to saline implants. Ms. Daly sued Dr. Carl, alleging that Dr. Carl should have awoken her from anesthesia to tell her about the error. The complaint also alleged that Dr. Carl continued Ms. Daly under anesthesia two hours longer than necessary in an attempt to fix the problem. Finally, the complaint alleged that Dr. Carl violated Ms. Daly’s rights by asking Ms. Daly’s fiance for authorization to change the type of implant used in the surgery.
Although the complaint against Dr. Carl did not explain why Ms. Daly wanted silicone implants, it is the case that silicone implants are generally considered to have a more “natural” look and feel than saline implants because the gel in silicone implants is similar in texture to breast tissue. In addition, it is more difficult to rupture a silicone implant than a saline one and when a saline implant does rupture, it deflates such that the problem is immediately visible whereas a silicone implant appears the same for some period of time even after rupture.
Dr. Carl agreed to a confidential settlement this summer.