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Fatal Beauty: Chinese Teen Dies After Surgery in South Korean Clinic

Daniel Kim Views  

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A tragic incident involving a Chinese teenager who died after undergoing liposuction and fat grafting surgery at a plastic surgery clinic in Gangnam, Seoul, has resulted in a court order for the responsible surgeon to pay approximately $170,000 in damages to the victim’s parents.

On the 17th of last month, the Seoul Central District Court partially ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the deceased’s family against the surgeon. The court ordered the surgeon to pay each of the parents roughly $101,000.

The victim visited the plastic surgery clinic with her mother in November 2018. The victim was introduced to the clinic through an agent who recruits and connects Chinese cosmetic surgery tourists with clinics.

After the consultation, the victim decided to conduct liposuction from her abdomen, flanks, back, arms, and other upper body areas, and graft the fat to her buttocks. The victim quickly signed a surgery consent form and an anesthesia consent form. At that point of documentation, the victim clearly stated that she had low blood pressure.

The victim was administered 50cc of Propofol, a sleep-inducing anesthetic, per hour during the surgery. However, even an hour after the surgery, the victim did not wake up and her oxygen saturation level dropped. After calling 119, she was transferred to a bigger hospital nearby.

The victim was unconscious upon the paramedic’s arrival at the clinic. She received CPR and was treated in the intensive care unit, but she died two weeks later.

The victim’s parents filed a lawsuit for damages in 2021, claiming that their daughter died due to the surgeon’s negligence.

The court partially accepted their claim.

The court stated, “The surgeon did not measure the victim’s blood pressure even once during the approximately 11-hour surgery and subsequent recovery process,” and “The surgeon is found to be remiss for improperly monitoring and observing the victim’s symptoms and breathing condition.” The Korean Medical Association endorses regularly monitoring and recording patients’ blood oxygen levels during the use of Propofol, which the surgeon failed to do.

Moreover, the court pointed out, “Despite the victim not waking up for over an hour, the surgeon and the medical staff merely shook and pinched her a few times,” and “They did not take appropriate emergency measures such as changing her position to facilitate breathing or supplying oxygen.”

Unusually for a medical accident case, the court held the surgeon 100% liable for damages. The court stated, “As accidents due to the side effects of Propofol continue, the Medical Association has distributed related clinical guidelines,” and “It is reasonable to hold heavy responsibility for an accident caused by not even complying with such basic content.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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