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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

‘Dancing Doctor’ still facing medical malpractice lawsuits


The healthcare and medical industry is one that is constantly standing to attention. The entire system is built around an understanding that those who become medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. Most of the time, this duty of care is taken seriously and upheld to the highest of standards, but occasionally there are cases and moments where medical professionals’ misstep or take deliberate action to distance a patient’s body and/or life post-procedure. While these cases are always shocking regardless of the medical professional’s intent, it is the subsequent lawsuits that often result that grab the most attention. These days, now more than ever, seeking the advice of a trusted, professional medical malpractice law firm is something that more medical patients are actively seeking out. Both patients and doctors have their lives turned around as a direct consequence of medical advice and procedures. One of those doctors is Atlanta-based dermatologist, Dr Windell Boutte.

While many doctors find themselves operating on patients that have particular requests, there are some medical professionals who find themselves having to defend themselves later down the track when something goes amiss during or after procedures or treatments. Medical malpractice is more common around the world than many would think, but here in the US the standards are (generally) quite solid. Even so, cases of medical malpractice do occur, and the result is often a lengthy, drawn-out legal battle that sees both patient and doctor struggling to comprehend the details as it all unfolds. One such case (or rather, string of cases) is the ongoing series of lawsuits against Atlanta-based dermatologist Dr Windell Boutte. Known best globally as the ‘Dancing Doctor’ that went viral after she uploaded multiple videos to her personal YouTube channel that showed her dancing and rapping over her unconscious patients. As if that were not controversial (and unsafe) enough, she was seen holding medical tools in one or both hands during the videos.

The whole goal of the medical malpractice system is to hold medical professionals who cause issues beyond surgery to the full extent of the law. It seems, in Dr Boutte’s circumstance, that this is an issue that has increasingly found its footing as of late. While Boutte has settled f

Four lawsuits earlier this year, there are another five (if not more) that are still yet to have made it through the entire legal system. Boutte continues to maintain that her videos, while staged, were all planned with the consent of the patients featured in them. At least one patient says that she was humiliated and had no idea she was being filmed, or that video footage of her surgery would be released to the world. The videos – including the one featuring that particular patient – have since been deleted, but not before the courts obtained them in the cases against Boutte. None of the medical malpractice cases against her in the past, or presently, included patients who were featured in the videos, but they were contributing factors in the cases being brought against her.

Patients suing the doctor and their attorneys maintain that the videos are proof of Boutte’s negligence on the job, and her inability to take her profession, and the safety of her patients, seriously. It is not at all uncommon for doctors and other medical professionals to insist that medical school does not teach them about the personal or professional consequences when they make mistakes. Boutte is somewhat of a unique case in that she continues to maintain to this day that she has nothing to apologise for, that the videos were above board, and that her patients have never brought issues to her immediate attention immediately after or shortly after the procedures she has been responsible for. The issues surrounding medical malpractice are a continuously enormous issue for the medical community, and Boutte is just one case among thousands that are continuously making their way into the legal system. Being a professional in the medical industry demands a high standard of professionalism and attention to detail. Unfortunately, there are some cases that, regardless of the intent behind them, often result in medical malpractice. The term itself has come to be a source of anxiety among medical professionals in the field.

The awareness of the potential consequences of procedures, prescriptions, and other treatment has never been higher or broader, because the law suits continue to find their way into the legal system and the court room. Dr Windell Boutte knows this better than most. Still going to the court system to work through the multiple cases against her by her patients, Boutte has been forced to reassess her sense of accountability and manner in her operating room. Just one of thousands of medical malpractice issues ongoing not just in the states but around the world, this is a case that drives home the importance of paying attention to the details. Failure to do so can – and has – resulted in expensive, time-consuming legal battles.

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