Let the buyer beware:
In the most recent case, four individuals have been arrested for impersonating surgeons and operating an unlicensed surgery clinic. According to the media reports, only one of the four people charged is a licensed physician, nurse or other trained healthcare provider – but that didn’t stop them from performing major operations such as liposuction and abdominoplasty procedures on their unknowing patients. While Dr. William Marrocco* was the doctor on record for the clinic – patients report that he wasn’t the one operating!
Unlike many of the ‘chop shops” we’ve written about that take place in garages, motels and private ‘parties’, in this scenario, unwary consumers were duped by a savvy group of criminals who had owned and operated the “Health and Beauty Cosmetic Surgery” clinic in downtown West Palm Beach.
*The good doctor Marrocco remains a legally licensed doctor in the state of Florida – though interestingly enough – he does not have prescriptive privileges. One the Florida Department of Health website, Dr. Marrocco (whose secondary address corresponds with the clinic address) reports active licenses in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Nebraska.
But let’s check it out… so I did my own preliminary online search –
Virginia: No records found. No active or past licensees (expired in the last five years) found. So he may have had one – but not recently.
Pennsylvania: William Charles Marrocco held a license in Pennsylvania for a brief two-year period between 1998 to 2000. This includes his period of medical residency training at Temple University Hospital.
Michigan: Three expired licenses – one for student status (resident) and one as a pharmacist.
Indiana: Dr. Marrocco was a licensed plastic surgeon in the state of Indiana from 2000 to 2011 and has a notation “reinstatement pending‘. Maybe Dr. Marracco is planning on heading back to Indiana – where his license remains unblemished – despite the scandal surrounding the 2003 death of his wife after he performed liposuction on her). License # 01052282A
Nebraska: Expired, license #2909, educational license permit (training) affiliated with Indiana University
Jorge Nayib Alarcon Zambrano – (one of the individuals charged) is listed as a member of the Colombian Society of Plastic Surgeons – from Cali, Colombia. So he may be a trained surgeon, just not a very good one (and not licensed in the United States).
Licensing isn’t everything..
Kind of goes to show some of the pitfalls of relying on licensing boards for consumer protection. Dr. William Marrocco was a licensed plastic surgeon, but that’s little consolation for many patients at that West Palm Beach clinic.
In fairness to Dr. William Marrocco, Jorge Alarcon and the other individuals in the case – they have been charged with multiple counts, but have not been convicted of any crime. Until that time, they remain innocent until proven guilty.
Apologies to my loyal readers for the long lapse in posts but my plate has been pretty full. But I will be finishing my latest assignment in a few weeks and starting a couple of new projects for the summer months.
I applied for and received a new assignment from Examiner.com to expand my focus to include more than just health topics. Now I will be able to write more articles focusing on life and culture in Latin America.
Colombia Moda 2014
To kick-start my new assignment, I have applied to attend Colombia Moda 2014.
(official image from Colombia Moda / Inexmoda)
Last year’s speakers were promoting the concept of “re-shoring” and changing from the traditional ‘seasonal’ lines and collections to an ongoing, evolving fashion line with new designs and items being designed, developed and sold to the public in shorter mini cycles.
This year – I’ll be able to cover all of this – along with interviews with individual designers, fashion lines and the Colombian fashion and textile industry. (Last year, my articles were focused on the role between fashion and plastic surgery).
Fashion is so intrinsic to Colombian life, and many parts of Latin America, so I am really excited about it. It plays such an important role in the economic, social and an even personal lives of many Colombians.
I won’t have an assistant this year – but I am getting a new lens for the event (I will be journalist/ photographer for the event).
After Colombia Moda, I will be flipping back and forth between writing about culture and my ‘usual’ medicine and health storylines.
I will be staying in Colombia for several weeks as well as covering the Latin American Association of Thoracics (ALAT) conference at the end of July. It’s one of the biggest international conferences in thoracic medicine/ surgery with many of the legends of thoracic surgery planning to be in attendance.
In August, I’ll be heading across the globe to interview the head of an innovative surgical program.
I’ll be checking in along the way – and posting photos, interviews and articles as I go.