Dr. Fix-a-flat strikes again!


Syringe of unknown contents

 

 

 

Dr. Fix-a-flat (Oneal Morris) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has been re-arrested as more victims of his scam surgeries have come forward.

This arrest comes as other American cities, (most notably, Las Vegas) make a concerted push to protect consumers with a new campaign against fraudulent practices and unlicensed physicians.  However, these ‘campaigns’ are primarily informational commercials aimed at the Latino community.

There is a new statewide task force aimed at addressing these incidents, but as of yet – there have been no legislative changes to protect victims of these scams.  Equally disturbing, in at least one of these cases – one of the pretend doctors used his fake status to sexually assault his victims.

In another disturbing sidenote out of Nevada – Teva pharmaceuticals settled a case against them for the distribution of propofol outside of proper channels/ and in improper quantities.  (If you remember, this is how Dr. Conrad Murray obtained the anesthetic for use on Michael Jackson.)  As a result of this distribution of multi-use medications that should be exclusively used in hospital settings – several patients were inadvertently exposed to Hepatitis C (including the plaintiff who developed Hepatitis C as a result.)

[Multi-use vials mean that the same container of medication is used for multiple people – if the medication is drawn up using needles or other instruments that have already been exposed to patients – this places future patients in contact with blood and infectious agents.]   Multi-use vials are a cost-containment measure for many institutions.

I hope that someone takes issue with out-patient colonoscopies as a whole since this in itself can be a very dangerous practice – and the research proves it.  (The issue behind outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies is the use of unmonitored anesthesia.  Most patients aren’t on monitors, no anesthesiologist is present, and the doctors performing the procedure are often unprepared in the event that a patient loses his airway (or stops breathing.)  There was a landmark study several years ago – that showed that 70% of nonaesthesiologists underestimated the level of sedation in patients undergoing out-patient / office procedures.  [I will continue looking for the link to this source.]

Frighteningly, a related paper demonstrated similar findings in a pediatric population.  This South African paper voices similar concerns.

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The case against ‘extreme makeovers’


While extreme plastic surgery makeovers (or multiple plastic surgery procedures at once) make for great television – they aren’t safe.  Prolonged (multi-hour, multi-procedure) surgeries place patients at greater risk of complications from anesthesia, bleeding, etc.  These ‘Mommy Makeovers’ sound like a good idea to patients – one surgery, less money and faster results – but the truth is – they just aren’t a good or safe idea.

Now an article by Laura Newman, [originally published  in Dermatol Surg. 2012;38:171-179] and re-posted at Medscape.com drives home that fact.

Combination Cosmetic Surgeries, General Anesthesia Drive AEs

February 9, 2012 — The use of general anesthesia, the performance of liposuction under general anesthesia, and a combination of surgical procedures significantly increase the risk for adverse events (AEs) in office-based surgery, according to reviews of statewide mandatory AE reporting in Florida and Alabama. More than two thirds of deaths and three quarters of hospital transfers were associated with cosmetic surgery performed under general anesthesia, according to an article published in the February issue of Dermatologic Surgery.

The study, derived from 10-year data from Florida and 6-year data from in Alabama, “confirms trends that have been previously identified in earlier analyses of this data,” write the authors, led by John Starling III, MD, from the Skin Cancer Center, Cincinnati, and the Department of Dermatology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

In a companion commentary, C. William Hanke, MD, from the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, Indianapolis, presses for 3 patient safety practices: “(1) Keep the patient awake!… 2) Think twice before supporting a patient’s desire for liposuction that is to be done in conjunction with abdominoplasty under general anesthesia…. 3) “[B]e advocates for prospective, mandatory, verifiable adverse event reporting…[that] should include data from physician offices, ambulatory surgical centers, and hospitals to define and quantify problems that can be largely prevented and eliminated.”

The authors and editorialist are especially critical of liposuction performed under general anesthesia. The study revealed that although liposuction is perhaps one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures, no deaths occurred in the setting of local anesthesia. “Liposuction under general anesthesia accounted for 32% of cosmetic procedure-related deaths and 22% of all cosmetic procedure-related complications,” the researchers write.

The researchers analyzed mandatory physician AE reports in ambulatory surgery submitted to their respective states, encompassing 10-year data in Florida and 6-year data in Alabama. A total of 309 AEs were reported during an office-based surgery during the 10-year period in Florida, including 46 deaths and 263 reportable complications or transfers to hospital. Cosmetic surgeries performed under general anesthesia accounted for the vast majority of deaths in Florida, with liposuction and abdominoplasty the most frequent procedures.

Six years’ worth of data from Alabama revealed 52 AEs, including 49 complications or hospital transfers and 3 deaths. General anesthesia was implicated in 89% of reported incidents; 42% were cosmetic surgeries. Pulmonary complications, including pulmonary emboli and pulmonary edema, were implicated in many deaths in both states.

Plastic surgeons were linked to nearly 45% of all reported complications in Florida and 42.3% in Alabama, write the researchers. Office accreditation, physician board certification, and hospital privileges all revealed no clear pattern.

One limitation acknowledged by the authors is that case logs of procedures performed under general and intravenous sedation are required in Florida, but are not public domain, and so were unavailable for analysis. In addition, investigators were not able to obtain data on the total number of liposuction procedures performed in either state. The lack of those data prevented them from calculating the overall fatality rate.

As readers of my previous publications know, the majority of surgeons I interviewed expressly do not perform multiple procedures during one surgery.  Also, many of them perform the majority of their procedures under conscious sedation with local anesthesia (which means you are awake, but you don’t care – and you don’t feel anything).

French implant update


More scary news for women around the globe – as the manufacturer, PIP discloses frightening information regarding their defective implants.  It has been discovered that the company knew that the implants were defective since 2005 – but continued to sell the implants for use world-wide, particularly in Latin America.

More disturbingly, this manufacturer did not use medical grade materials – instead opting for cheaper, construction grade chemicals including petroleum and fuel additives, components which have never been tested for [internal] human use.  The health effects of exposure to these materials is unknown.  The risks associated with the use of these materials is enhanced due to the high rate of rupture among this brand of implant.  These chemicals certainly have carcinogenic potential and the implications for thousands and thousands of women are terrifying.

French officials have urged women to have their implants surgically removed.

A preliminary search of PubMed and other published research shows mixed results – and primarily discusses the results of exposure to benzene (and other petroleum derivatives) via water contamination, or occupational exposure.   (In fact, only limited information is available regarding the safety of breast implants in general, and the material is fairly dated.)

As we stated in a previous story, while researching Bogota! and interviewing plastic surgeons – I investigated the types of implants used by the surgeons profiled in the book.  (None of the surgeons used this company’s implants at the time of my interviews in Winter/ Spring 2011).

Update:  In fact, the Colombian government has offered to pay for the removal of PIP implants.  More on this story here.

French Implants recalled


Hundreds of thousands of french made breast implants have been recalled – sending women all over the globe into a panic.  These implants which are no longer in use in France, have been linked to an increased rate of rupture, and possible increased incidence of cancer.

But good news for readers – as you may recall from my interviews with several of the surgeons (as written in the book) – none of the surgeons I interviewed used french implants.  The majority used FDA approved implants (only one brand currently FDA approved.)  Several others use german made implants*.. But this is an example of the details I’ve ferreted out for my readers..

* Brand information and other details are available in the book, “Bogota: a hidden gem guide to surgical tourism.”

More stories about fake docs including this one about a phony performing liposuction while smoking a cigar on AWAKE patients..

This guy was actually a doctor, but that didn’t stop ten of his patients from dying after bariatric procedures..

Questionable injections, and fake doctors at a Motel 6


In news out of Greensboro, North Carolina – another woman has been charged with several cases (dating back to 2007) of practicing medicine without a license.

Like the woman quoted in the article says, if you are going to a Motel 6 for a ‘medical procedure’ – what do you really expect?

This isn’t a way to skirt ‘the system’ or save money.. But it is a really good way to get hurt or killed.

Crimes of New York – another ‘butt-injecting’, superglue using phony kills patients in the Hispanic community in New York.

More Victims of the Fix-a-flat cement injecting fake doc.


Look at the facial deformities of one of the “Fix-a-flat” fake doctor’s earlier victims.  This story, which was picked up by multiple news outlets, is just one of the many stories authorities are hearing as more and more victims (aka ‘patients’) of the cement injecting doctor come forward.

I won’t insult readers by making snarky comments or mouthing sanctimonious “love yourself” type platitudes – those sort of attitudes certainly don’t help – nor encourage victims of this sort of fraudulent treatments to come forward.

Instead I will continue to post stories about these cases, along with advice to help people find qualified surgeons, and interviews of some of the many, many wonderful and talented surgeons out there.

Cement, Fix-a-flat & Superglue are not beauty aids..


In the latest horrifying story of unlicensed people performing plastic surgery – a man in Miami, Florida has been arrested for injecting a woman with a mixture of cement, superglue and ‘fix-a-flat’ as a part of a ‘homemade’ buttock enhancement procedure – performed in an apartment.

Hopefully readers can see the many, many things wrong with the above paragraph..  But what I find the most dismaying about the entire episode, is that the woman – who paid 700.00 for the procedure – refused to report this person to the authorities – despite having to seek emergency medical attention on two separate occasions for ‘severe’ complications from this quasi-procedure.

Update: 11/22/2011 – Now more patients with Cement Buttocks are emerging..

Another person has also been charged in this case.

A story in a UK paper suggests this fake doc may be a victim of a botched procedure himself.  (Take a look at these photos.)

Now it appears similar stories are emerging in other cities – including Las Vegas

Links to posts on similar stories on Cartagena Surgery:

Silicone injections & patient harm

LA woman disfigured and several more stories about unlicensed frauds harming patients – here, here & here.  Many of these stories are tragic.

Safety & Injectibles

Recent sentencing for doctor responsible for several deaths

We also give tips on finding qualified licensed personnel, as well as conducting our own interviews..