Rohie Kah, a nurse and mother of three, visited the Weston MedSpa in Weston, Florida, on September 25th.
She was planning to have a liposuction procedure in the same place she had previously gone for massages and manicures. But something went terribly wrong during the procedure.
“A 37-year-old, healthy mother of three shouldn’t go into a medical spa for a routine procedure and come out brain dead,” says the family lawyer, Michael Freedland. During the two hour procedure, Kah stopped breathing and had a seizure.
Paramedics were called in and found her with “no pulse and unresponsive.”
The doctor who performed the procedure, Dr. Omar Brito Marin had a valid medical Florida medical license, but his lawyer told ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week that “Dr. Brito was unaware that the clinic did not have a license to offer that treatment.
A consultant for the family believes she may have been awake during a “light” liposuction that used anesthetic, lidocaine to numb the skin and a laser to liquefy fat.
Excessive lidocaine can be used over large areas of skin and has the potential to cause seizures and an allergic reaction.
In 2004 a North Carolina State University student, Shiri Berg, died after she used too much lidocaine cream prior to laser hair removal.
Ms. Kah is at the Cleveland Clinic. She remains unconscious. The family is considering whether to keep her on life support.
"Weston MedSpa provides a personalized approach to aesthetic medicine under the care of a physician to enhance your beauty," the facility's mission statement reads. Liposuction is not among the listed services by the MedSpa, but electrolysis or hair removal is.
Red Flag - The Spa
Florida has been considering a crackdown on medspas, as they are largely unregulated and perform medical procedures outside of their services.
The Florida Board of Medicine tells the Sun-Sentinel that a doctor at a spa can supervise less-trained personnel who do the cosmetic and beauty treatments such as Botox injections, fat-burning injections, and laser hair removal.
The Weston MedSpa is privately owned and not licensed to perform liposuction under general anesthesia, reports the Sun-Sentinel. It can use local anesthesia if the patient is kept awake. Brian Bieber, Dr. Brito Marin’s attorney says he was unaware of the type of liposuction performed, but if it involved general anesthesia,the doctor could be disciplined.
18-year-old Stephanie Kuleba died at a Boca Raton, Florida surgeon’s outpatient clinic, different than a medspa, after a rare reaction to general anesthesia, known as malignant hyperthermia (MH). Ask whether the spa or a clinic has the antidote, dantrolene, or whether diprivan (propofol ketamine) will be used as some doctors claim it does not trigger MH.
Surgeries in doctor’s offices were supposed to be improved after a number of deaths, but medspas were left out of the regulations because technically, they do not perform surgeries.
Discuss in advance with the clinic how emergencies are handled. Know how many people are on hand if there is an emergency. In a hospital, generally there are more individuals to help outside of the doctor and anesthesiologist or CRNA. And consumers may want to research whether there are any pending lawsuits against the clinic.
Red Flag – The Doctor
Dr. Brito’s specialty is occupational medicine. He received his medical degree in Bogota, Columbia and is not board-certified or trained in plastic surgery.
An investigation by the Department of Health is underway into whether medical standards were violated.
"These medspas are proliferating like weeds," said Dr. James Stern, president of the Broward County Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons to the Chicago Tribune. "On every corner you see these things. None of them are board-certified plastic surgeons. The public is really being fooled into thinking these are experts. There's nothing medical about these medspas."
Consumers want to ask whether the person is trained and board-certified in the field in which they are practicing before having a cosmetic procedure. And make sure the facility is licensed to handle the procedure.
According to Florida Board of Medicine records, Dr. Brito Marin has been in trouble with the law before. His medical license was not revoked but he was involved in an insurance fraud scheme several years ago, helping non-licensed individuals by signing off on treatments that did not occur. He had to pay $5,000 and perform 50 hours of community service, reports ABC News.
A criminal investigation by homicide detective at the Broward Sheriff’s office is underway as is a probe by the Department of Health. #