News broke recently that a plastic surgeon in Miami is suing two of his former patients for posting a bad review. On the latest episode of No Spin Live, board certified plastic surgeons Dr. William P. Adams Jr. of Dallas, Dr. Chet Mays of Louisville, Kentucky, and Dr. Richard Zienowicz of Providence, Rhode Island discuss the pros and cons of patient reviews, whether it is good idea for a plastic surgeon to sue a patient, and how to ensure that the reviews that you are reading are actually the real deal.
Patient Reviews – Good, Bad & Ugly
Miami and South Florida is a hotbed for plastic surgery, but usually only when cases go wrong does it make the news. The most recent article concerns a surgeon – who refers to himself as the ‘Boob God’ – suing two former patients for posting bad reviews. Thanks to social media, patient reviews are more prevalent and accessible than ever before, but is this a good thing?
“We live in a review world, and not just with plastic surgery,” shares Dr. Mays. Anything that we do or purchase, we tend to look at the reviews first. It can certainly be a great educational tool, but you really have to know what to look for, which may also change depending on the context. The hope is always to find real reviews. The unfortunate truth is that a lot of people post fake reviews.
How to Spot a Real Review?
Not only do real patients write fake reviews, but sometimes, the fake review comes from a person who has never even seen the surgeon. As a patient, it is important to do your due diligence. Patient reviews are an important form of communication, as they can help new patients to get a feel for the plastic surgeon’s personality and way of working. The relationship between patient and plastic surgeon is incredibly personal. It’s critical then for you to feel comfortable with your surgeon.
Patient reviews can be a good first glance, but how do you know if the reviews are real? A good tell-tale sign is that any surgeon should have a mix of reviews, both good and bad. “We all try to do the best we can,” explains Dr. Adam. But surgeons are human, and not every patient is going to be happy.
Suing Not Always a Good Idea
Having said that, “suing your patient is never a good idea,” says Dr. Mays. It’s bad press not matter how you spin it, and sends up a lot of red flags. Dr. Zienowicz agrees that if a surgeon delivers a bad result, he or she deserves to be hung out to dry. But sometimes, the surgeon has done a procedure for a patient and delivered as great a result that is surgically possible. Is it then OK for the patient to rake that surgeon over the coals? The surgeon is besmirched in the press because of one bad review. What course does the surgeon have? “It’s very frustrating to be assassinated for doing, at least, very reasonable work,” explains Dr. Zienowicz.
Take the Time to Listen to Your Patient
While Dr. Mays agrees that it isn’t OK to have your reputation ruined for doing average work, when an patient is unhappy, “you can feel that in the office.” If the surgeon lets that patient leave without addressing his or her issues, then there is a very solid chance that the patient will be sitting in his or her car on the phone typing out a bad review within minutes of leaving the office.
It’s important for plastic surgeons to take the time to try to get to the bottom of a patient’s issue. At the end of the day, every patient just wants to be heard.