Parents Say Cosmetic Surgery-Related Death Was Avoidable

Valerie Castonguay, 25, died on May 2008 after undergoing a routine nose procedure called septorhinoplasty.

Her parents, Danielle Roy and Gerard Castonguay are now filing a civil lawsuit against the physician who performed the procedure at her private clinic in Montreal, claiming that even though the procedure was routine, the death was the result of inadequate oxygen administration in the recovery room.

The coroner’s report revealed that Valerie had in fact died because of a lack of oxygen after the procedure. The staff at Rene Crepau’s clinic on Seaforth Avenue in Montreal did not change the pressure when they connected her to the oxygen tube, and Valerie’s lungs over-inflated as a result. Valerie was declared brain dead at Montreal General Hospital approximately 12 hours after her surgery.

No criminal charges were filed as a result of the patient’s death, but the lawyer for the Castonguay family, Jean-Pierre Menard, is pushing for better regulation for doctors and nurses at private clinics. He states that “It’s a situation that could have been clearly avoided”, since the nurses and doctor’s assistants should have been trained to check the oxygen tank pressure levels after the patient had been transferred from the surgery room, and should have taken steps to monitor the patient throughout the recovery process.

Private clinics in Quebec are currently not regulated at the same level as hospitals and government-owned clinics, so there is a vast gray area regarding acceptable protocols and procedures for private clinics throughout the country.

Menard states that, “We must go further t make sure that what happened here, could not happen again.”

Patients considering undergoing plastic or cosmetic surgery in Canada should take the time to learn about the clinic or practice’s track record, and be aware that there are inherent risks involved with undergoing surgery at a private clinic that is relatively unregulated.

(Source: CBC News)

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