Woman receives £6m compensation after negligent cosmetic surgery
Mrs Johnson had everything: a beautiful son, a loving husband and a half share in an IT consultancy business worth more than £100 million. In 2003 she approached a plastic surgeon based in Leeds. They agreed he would remove the dark circles under her eyes and undertake minor plastic surgery to straighten her nose; a simple operation by all accounts.
The operation went disastrously wrong. Not only did the cosmetic surgeon inexplicably undertake breast augmentation without her consent but she was also left with permanent disfigurement. As a consequence of the negligent cosmetic surgery, she now suffers excruciating pain around her eye. The only way that she can sleep is to tape it shut. Her face constantly twitches and she has a permanent grimace, the result of severe nerve damage around her right cheek and eye.
Mrs Johnson instructed solicitors to bring a negligent cosmetic surgery claim, arguing that the cosmetic surgeon purposefully decided to, “play God" with her life. A compensation claim for £50 million (for her financial losses and her pain and suffering) was launched. The surgeon admitted that he had been negligent and accepted that the failed cosmetic surgery had restricted her ability to work.
In Court, Mr Justice Owen recognised that the negligent cosmetic surgery had made a devastating impact on her life. “She was formerly a confident, happy and outstandingly successful woman with a full and rewarding family and social life”, he noted. The Judge acknowledged the negligent cosmetic surgery had caused serious physical and psychological consequences. He agreed that the disfigurement following the face lift and the negligent breast augmentation had placed considerable stress upon her family life. He also accepted that Mrs Johnson felt she could no longer be a wife to her husband and that he and her son now had a separate life which no longer included her.
The Judge decided the business had failed for unrelated commercial reasons, however. Nevertheless, he awarded her over £6 million compensation for her disfigurement, pain, psychological suffering and loss of earnings.