Ellis: Active Plastic Surgeon Expert Witness In Malpractice Cases

For more than 30 years, Toronto facial plastic surgeon Dr. David Ellis has been helping people look and feel their best. Because of his extensive experience, he’s also frequently called on by both prosecution and defense lawyers to testify as an expert witness in malpractice suits.

“I’ve done both sides of the street,” he says. “I’ve helped doctors and I’ve been on the prosecutor’s side, as well.”

When he began his medical career, Ellis initially focused on treating head and neck cancer patients, including jaw and tongue reconstructions, and voice-box removals.

“It was demoralizing,” Ellis, founder of Toronto’s The Art of Facial Surgery clinic, tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I wanted to practise in the happy field.”

He made the move into cosmetic and aesthetic work and hasn’t looked back.

Ellis’s patients run the gamut of age, gender and reasons for seeking his services. Some come to him to fix unsatisfactory results from other surgeons. For instance, about 15 per cent of nose jobs, which is the most common cosmetic procedure, need to be adjusted mostly with injections but rarely with repeat surgery, which is often minor, he notes.

Along with a variety of cosmetic surgeries, including facelifts, eyelid surgery, and forehead lifts, his clinic offers a range of non-surgical treatments. There’s a host of laser treatments, for hair removal, skin treatment, vein removal, broken facial capillaries and more.

There are also numerous aesthetic treatments, including injectable fillers, and the Belkyra Procedure, which lessens the appearance of a double chin. The clinic offers cosmetic injections of PRP — platelet-rich plasma — “that has growth factors that stimulate the production of collagen and other elements,” that can improve skin tone, as well as treat thinning hair, Ellis says. There are superficial injections to improve skin quality and an arsenal of super-hydrating compounds.

And, of course, there’s Botox.

“For the famous No. 11, right between the eyes,” he says.

Much of Ellis’s practice focuses on skincare, and the treatment of rosacea, skin damage, hyperpigmentation and more.

“It’s an ongoing procedure to maintain the quality of your skin,” he says.

Ellis has stayed current in his field’s advancements in part by being deeply involved in his specialty’s professional associations. A Medical Peer Assessor for the Quality Assurance Committee with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Ellis is past president of the Canadian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, and past Canadian vice-president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, and past board member of the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgical Societies.

He is past president and secretary of the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Toronto Department of Otolaryngology in 2006 for professional and ethical standards of the highest order.

It is his decades of medical experience that Ellis draws upon when called to testify as an expert witness in malpractice suits.

“It fell into my lap several years ago,” he says. A dissatisfied patient came to him after a nose job by another surgeon. Too much cartilage had been removed from the tip of her nose, causing it to become twisted and curled.

“The surgeon did not recognize that he took too much tip cartilage away, which was the cause of the twisting,” Ellis says.

He explained that to the woman and wrote an expert medical opinion on the case, which was appropriate, as he had not treated her.

“That’s how it started,” Ellis says.

Since then, he’s worked on a number of cases, testifying, in simple terms, about the physiology of the case, and offering his opinion as to whether the standard of care was met.

In the past year, Ellis has provided expert medical opinions on three cases in three provinces: Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Each case has its own facts, he says, but they all share a common denominator.

“The most important thing is why things break down between patient and doctor,” Ellis says. “In two of the cases, the patient somehow took a dislike to the doctor and never had an adequate followup, and therefore things got worse.”

Ellis is enjoying the glimpse into the law that the medical-legal expert role is affording him.

“I find it fascinating to see how the legal system works,” he says. Ellis says he admires the experience and knowledge of judges, marvelling at how they weigh opposing medical-legal opinions without a background in medicine.

“Certainly, from my perspective, it might be very difficult for the judge to lean one way or the other. On the other hand, the lawyers try to bring out conflicting evidence,” Ellis says. “It’s quite an interesting battle.”

By Kate Wallace, AdvocateDaily.com Contributor

Original Article is Available Here

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