A woman from Wales is suing a cosmetic surgery clinic in Belgium after she underwent cosmetic surgery a facelift.
Mrs X, who is in her 40s, is taking the UK-based Elyzea Cosmetic Surgery Group to court for personal injury, following a botched facelift and upper and lower eye procedure in 2005. The woman is now too embarrassed to be seen in public, claiming that she has been left with prominent scarring around the eyes and the ears.
She adds that she suffers numbness and a “lack of symmetry” on the left side of her face. To hide the scarring, she has had to grow her hair long.
Although the surgery was performed in Belgium, she is pressing charges in the UK. If she succeeds, it could pave the way for other patients, who may have received below standard healthcare abroad, but want to go to court in the UK where they can expect bigger payouts.
Elyzea, which has offices in London and Manchester, denies any liability, saying the procedure took place in Belgium, and thus, Belgian law should prevail. In that context, it is the attending surgeon who is legally responsible for any personal injury, not the firm he works for.
A spokeswoman for Elyzea said they did not accept responsibility for the case, however, they did feel they had a moral responsibility to try to put things right. “We are providing aftercare to correct errors. But generally patients are not reimbursed.”
Elyzea has offices in Paris, Utrecht, Manchester, London and Brussels.
Europe lags behind the US in promoting insurance covering medical negligence. Many agencies, involved in arranging medical travel, don’t think they need protection or have the funds to buy a policy. Underwriters are reluctant to insure them because some are not licensed, appear to be new at the game or cannot present a professional way of selecting its roster of specialists.