Patient Safety Campaign: cases
Though non-physicians practicing in the field of medicine have long been a problem, a noticeable increase has been seen in the past five years – particularly those “treating” patients in the specialty of cosmetic surgery. The non-physician practice of medicine has caused numerous complications to those patients undergoing cosmetic procedures. Following are examples of some of the most highly-publicized complications resulting from this trend:
- 36-year-old Pittsburgh woman underwent laser hair removal treatment at a local spa resulting in second-degree burns that left checkerboard-like scars along both her legs and her underarms. Years later, she still has visible skin discolorations.
- 50-year-old woman was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital center with third-degree burns inflicted by an incorrectly administered laser treatment to erase wrinkles. A doctor who later examined her said the injuries resembled an acid burn.
- 40-year-old woman went to a posh Manhattan spa for facial hair removal. Administered improperly, the laser burned and disfigured the patient, leaving her with raised scars and discolored patches over her face, which are only slightly diminished with heavy makeup.
- 50-year-old Florida woman underwent laser light procedure to treat sunspot damage on her back, chest and arms. Due to lack of experience and minimal training, the “clinician’s” treatment caused burns and blisters, which eventually gave the patient a permanent zebra-like pattern on her skin.
- 22-year-old North Carolina woman dies from lidocaine overdose after being instructed to apply a pain-relieving cream while at home, to her legs prior to a laser procedure. The spa that provided the anesthetic neglected to tell the woman of the serious side effects the cream may cause and how to properly apply the cream. Due to the unregulated strength of the cream, she died in her car from seizures on her way to the procedure.
- 45-year-old San Diego transgender woman died hours after receiving an illegal injection of silicone at a “pumping party” held in an apartment.
- Fake Botox® is found to be manufactured illegally, and purchased by numerous doctors around the country. Nearly 1,000 patients were injected with the non-FDA approved substance without their knowledge. Four cases of paralyzed patients are linked with the injections.
- Fourteen patients reported prolonged skin reactions (e.g., redness, swelling and ulcerations) due to mesotherapy administered by an unlicensed practitioner in the Washington, D.C. area. The injections were administered in a private home and patients were told that the procedure was being performed by a doctor from Columbia.
- Florida couple treated for paralysis after being injected in the forehead with what they thought was Botox®. Instead of the FDA-approved anti-wrinkle serum, raw botulinum toxin was used.
- Middle-aged Sacramento woman went to a popular California medi-spa chain to diminish the appearance of sunspots on her back. Because the “technician” was not properly trained, the procedure was performed on the patient’s tanned skin – a factor that would cause many doctors to forgo the procedure until the patient’s skin tone was more natural. As a result, the light focused on all of her skin, rather than the intended sun spots, causing second degree burns and blisters on her back and shoulders.
- 24-year-old Massachusetts woman, died after undergoing illegal liposuction and nose reconstruction procedures in the basement of the home of a Brazilian couple. The couple – who were not medical doctors – administered illegally obtained drugs and performed the surgical procedures on the young woman for $3,300.
While these events have been recorded by the media, there are numerous other examples reported solely to members of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), which are not included in this timeline… and the list continues to grow!
For further information on the non-physician practice of medicine, visit www.asds.net.