In 2013 a client contacted a cosmetic surgery clinic in this country seeking weight loss surgery. The clinic arranged for him to have the surgery in the Czech Republic for a fee of £4,000.00. He had the surgery in October 2013. He was disappointed to find he wasn’t losing weight as expected and sought a second opinion from a well known, and reputable, private hospital group. He underwent investigations which showed the Czech surgeon had done very little to change the size of his stomach hence the reason he wasn’t losing weight. He complained to the clinic who arranged for him to have the procedure carried out again in the Czech Republic at a reduced fee of £2,000.00. He had the second operation in February 2015. Once again, he failed to lose the weight expected and returned to the private hospital for a further opinion. Investigations showed the surgeon had failed once again to perform the appropriate procedure.
By this time the client had, understandably, lost faith in the Czech surgeon and the clinic who had referred him there. He took the decision to have a third operation at the private hospital which had provided the second opinions. It cost him however another £10,500.00.
He consulted our firm to establish whether there might be a claim against the clinic. Our enquiries found the clinic had ceased trading although they set up another company in identical format almost immediately. The clinic refused to reply to repeated requests for their insurance details so the only conclusion to be drawn is that they had no insurance cover in place. We looked into the possibility of pursuing a claim against the director of the clinic personally but legally this was unlikely to succeed and enquiries showed the director had no assets against which we could enforce any judgement.
This only left the possibility of a claim against the surgeon. To do this the client would need to sue him in the Czech Republic, in accordance with Czech law and with the assistance of a Czech lawyer. The client drew a blank with this.
He had clearly been very let down by the surgeon, and arguably the clinic who sent him to the surgeon, but sadly he had no realistic means of obtaining redress given the lack of insurance and obstacles preventing him from making a claim. Before embarking on private surgery we would always advise you check whether the clinic and surgeon are insured and that the insurance enables you to make a claim in this country.