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Medical malpractice does not always have to involve a surgical mistake or misdiagnosis. This became apparent in New York when an unlicensed cosmetologist was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. While this case does not constitute a surgical mistake in the traditional manner, it does illustrate how people can be injured or killed by medical mistakes.

The woman was convicted on Nov. 10. According to prosecutors, a 43-year-old woman was given an injection of silicone in her buttocks in March of 2010. The injection caused a silicone embolism to go into the woman's lungs, which ultimately killed her just two days after the injection. At first, physicians thought the woman died from pneumonia, but an autopsy revealed that silicone had traveled through her bloodstream to her lungs.

The government has approved silicone, but only for certain uses where the substance is contained. Prosecutors say the accused cosmetologist claimed to have approval from the state to administer the silicone injections.

The defendant now faces as many as four years in prison. She was released on $10,000 bail. Her sentencing is scheduled for next month. It is not known at this time if the deceased woman's family plans any civil action or if additional charges may be pending at a later date.

There may be occasions when patients are injured or killed because of a surgical error or other medically related cause. When this happens, working with an experienced New York area medical malpractice attorney is often the best first step. Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to prove and working with an attorney experienced in this area of law may prove to be beneficial.

Source: City Room, "Cosmetologist Guilty in Silicone-Injection Death," Andy Newman, Nov. 10, 2011

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