Saturday, August 16, 2008

New State Law in California sets Welcomed Precedent for Patient Safety after Donda West's Death

The California Senate has approved new laws relating to plastic surgery following the untimely death of Donda West. The Senate announced on Thursday that the new laws require patients to undergo a physical examination before any surgery takes place (we as plastic surgeons call this a "medical clearance" and it is obtained in order to assess the medical status of patients undergoing elective surgery; seems pretty basic and common sense, huh?).

Senator Mark Ridley Thomas admitted that the new legislation was in direct response to West's postoperative death in November last year. Ridley-Thomas told the Los Angeles Times: "Many of us are concerned about the quality of care extended to those who receive elective surgery.” Source:

West was undergoing a tummytuck, or abdominoplasty, and liposuction combined with a breast reduction shortly before the time of her death. Here is the story as it broke on FoxNewsLive when I was interviewed about it.

I hope this will inspire similar legislation all over the United States for the sake of patient safety. Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, credentialing in local hospitals, and verification of licensure and any disciplinary action are all important things for consumers to research when picking a plastic surgeon these days.


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  2. Such a sad story. Cosmetic surgery leading to death. I definitely enjoyed watching your interview-glad you posted it up there. I find it ridiculous that she would have had 3 surgeries all at once. That must be such a horror for a surgeon-to go threw so many hours of surgery on one patient. I agree in that she should have split the surgery days in two or at least the surgeon should have.