NY Plastic Surgeon Pays $2.3 Million in Wrongful Death Claim

Ava Lawson | May 28th, 2014

Justice is servedRenowned New York plastic surgeon to the stars, Dr. Sharon Giese is a household name for many Americans. Featured on such popular shows as Dr. Oz, The Doctors, CBS News and Today, Dr. Giese is considered among the best in her field. However, even leading cosmetic surgeons can make grave mistakes, as was the case with patient Adriana Porras, a 32-year-old mother of two who sought the services of the A-list surgeon for liposuction.

After her fat-reducing procedure in Dr. Giese’s in-home surgical office, Porras was sent home where she died two days later of a pulmonary embolism. Her widowed husband took legal action, alleging the surgeon ignored phone calls in which Adriana complained of chest pain and shortness of breath – two possible symptoms of an impending pulmonary embolism.

Court filings show that Giese has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle the NY plastic surgery malpractice lawsuit, to help compensate for the sudden death of the Nanuet mother of two. The settlement, which is being paid by Giese’s insurance carrier, will be divided among the widower, 39-year-old Pablo Balzola, and the couple’s two young children.

Liposuction procedure proves deadly for NY woman

According to court documents, Adriana Porras had the procedure in 2009 in Dr. Giese’s surgical suite located in one of Manhattan’s most posh neighborhoods. Liposuction, like any surgical procedure, includes risk for intra and post-operative complications, such as an increased chance of blood clots. The danger of venous clots is that at any given time one can break free and travel to the lungs, blocking vital arteries and causing a pulmonary embolism. They can also travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

A deep cough, shortness of breath and sudden chest pain are classic signs of a pulmonary embolism, and widower Pablo Balzola argues that Giese was negligent in her duty to provide competent post-operative care to Adriana, claiming she did not return a series of frantic phone calls. Pathologists gave expert testimony that had Adriana’s symptoms been swiftly treated, she may not have died.  Pulmonary embolisms, while potentially life-threatening, can be treated if caught early. Statistically, only about a third of patients who don’t seek medical treatment for a blood clot in the lung will die from the condition.

Besides surgery, other risk factors for pulmonary embolism include:

  • Obesity
  • Prolonged rest or inactivity
  • History of cancer or heart disease
  • Hormone therapy
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy

According to reports, Dr. Giese has refused to comment on Porras’ death or the New York plastic surgery malpractice settlement.

Manhattan medical malpractice attorneys

The untimely death of Adriana Porras after such a routine procedure highlights the dangers facing all plastic surgery patients. Even though Dr. Giese was ranked highly among her field and performed cutting-edge techniques in her Manhattan office, it is questionable if adequate post-op care was offered. While the $2.3 million settlement will go a long way toward providing for Adriana’s children and husband, it will never ease the pain of her loss.

If you have suffered the effects of doctor negligence during cosmetic surgery or any other type of procedure, you may be entitled to monetary damages. At The Sanders Firm, our attorneys will fight for your legal rights and best interests. To arrange a no-cost case evaluation, please call our NY offices toll-free:  1.800 FAIR PLAY ( 800.324.7752).


  1. NY Daily News, Plastic surgeon to pay $2.3 million to family of patient who died after getting liposuction http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/plastic-surgeon-pay-2-3-million-patient-family-death-article-1.1789052

  2. Mayo Clinic, Pulmonary Embolism http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-embolism/basics/definition/con-20022849