Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Cosmetic Surgery Results in $1.95M Award

The family of a Virginia woman who died after receiving plastic surgery has been awarded nearly $2 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit

The verdict was handed down late last month by a Virginia Beach Circuit Court jury, which ruled in favor of the family of Maritess Lopez, who died less than two days after receiving extensive plastic surgery in July 2008.

According to the cosmetic surgery malpractice lawsuit, Lopez was allowed to go home by Dr. Matthew Galumbeck an hour after receiving the procedure, despite the fact that she was suffering from breathing problems. She later experienced dizziness, fever, and mental focus problems, and died in bed.

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The lawsuit claims that her sister, Carmelita Hale, called Galumbeck’s office and talked to a nurse about her sister’s problems after the cosmetic surgery, but the office never followed up on the call.

Lopez had received what is called a “mommy makeover” package, meant to erase the physical effects of motherhood. It included a tummy tuck, breast lift and augmentation and liposuction. An autopsy found that she died from having contents of her stomach make their way into her lungs, a condition known as aspiration pneumonia.

Galumbeck claimed that Lopez showed no signs of complications or distress after the surgery. His defense attorneys said he had met all of the expected standards of care in his treatment of Lopez. According to a report by The Virginian-Pilot, the jury disagreed and awarded the family $1.95 million, which was the maximum award possible.


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