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$20.5 million verdict shows need for caution with surgery centers, young patients

Plastic surgeons across the country took notice in May when a Pennsylvania jury awarded $20.5 million to the family of an 18-year-old woman who died after a liposuction procedure, but the big question is whether there was any lesson in the case. Can you take something away from the bad experience of the surgeon who performed the procedure, or was the huge verdict just a fluke in a standard medical malpractice case?

Malpractice attorneys and plastic surgeons say there are indeed lessons to be learned from the case of Amy Fledderman, from Newtown Square, PA, an honors student at Penn State University who died seven years ago after liposuction performed by plastic surgeon Richard Glunk, MD, of King of Prussia, PA. The case can serve as a reminder about the importance of proper surgery center certification and the added malpractice risks that come from working with young adults.