Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of cosmetic procedures being performed in residential apartments, houses and hotel rooms by individuals who are not qualified or registered practitioners in Australia. The individuals who perform these procedures often advertise their services through videos and images on social media and charge the same rates as professional clinics to give the impression that they are qualified doctors.

Beware of backyard cosmetic procedures

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) has expressed concern about the growth of backyard cosmetic procedures. In particular, they highlight three major health hazards for patients. Firstly, these procedures are performed by unqualified and unregistered practitioners who are not trained to perform the types of procedures they advertise. Secondly, these practitioners often use unregistered drugs which are not approved for use in Australia. Thirdly, the procedures are mostly performed at the residence of the unregistered practitioner where there is poor infection control, therefore increasing the risk of contamination due to poor hygiene and a lack of sterilisation.

Earlier this month, Public Health officers raided the apartment of Ms Pu Liu, a Sydney woman who had been performing cosmetic surgeries despite not being registered as a medical practitioner in Australia. During the raid, the officers found cats in the apartment, evidencing poor infection control and poor hygiene.

Helena Chen was one of Ms Liu’s patients. She elected to undergo double eyelid surgery under the care of Ms Liu after being told that the procedure would involve no bleeding and no bruising. She believed the procedure would be safe, but her experience was not what she expected. Ms Liu injected an anaesthetic agent around her eyes and then proceeded to stitch and re-stitch her left eyelid several times. Following each stitch, she would leave the room to answer her phone and return to the procedure without washing her hands. Ms Chen experienced more pain following the procedure than she anticipated and will now need to wait several months before she knows whether her eyes have been permanently damaged.

The NSW government has recently introduced tougher laws to better regulate the cosmetic surgery industry. These laws serve to provide greater safeguards for patients through the imposition of stricter licensing standards for all private health facilities.

Patients who have had procedures performed by Ms Liu and other unregistered practitioners may be at risk of blood-borne viruses and other infections. These patients are urged to see their treating doctor for advice.

At Turner Freeman we have Personal Injury Lawyers who specialise in medical negligence claims. If you or someone you know has suffered from medical treatment which you believe was not appropriate, we encourage you to call 13 43 63 to speak with one of our medical law experts today.

Our NSW offices are in Sydney, Parramatta, Newcastle, Penrith, Wollongong and Gloucester.