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A Cut Above? Surgical Centers May Improve Patient Safety starstarstarstarstar

Recent patient deaths and serious complications have resulted in increased scrutiny of Florida plastic surgery centers. Learn about patient deaths and efforts to improve patient safety with a new bill that, if passed, implements important regulations.

NBC Miami reported in 2016 that plastic surgeon Dr. Osak Omulepu performed the wrong procedure on a patient. She discovered that she received a tummy tuck instead of the correct surgery, a Brazilian Butt Lift. The patient required a seven-day hospital stay after seeking medical attention for the seven-inch hole in her stomach. Although NBC received information that the doctor no longer worked at the clinic, he practiced at another nearby plastic surgery center.

USA Today and the Naples Daily News discovered that at another clinic, Dr. Ismael Labrador performed as many as eight procedures a day. The USA Today investigation yielded information that eight women died after procedures performed at the plastic surgery center. Several other patients experienced critical complications. The clinic changed names three times, yet Dr. Labrador remained at the center.

Proposed Legislation

Senator Anitere Flores filed a 42-page bill that will require Florida’s plastic surgery centers to undergo a regulatory makeover. The bill proposes that all Florida plastic surgery centers be registered to a licensed physician, not a business. If a serious injury or death occurs, the center or doctor could lose registration. It also would require a clear record for five years before anyone opens a plastic surgery center. 

Also, the Florida Board of Medicine plans to revisit allowing liposuction procedures in doctors’ offices, particularly regulation of gluteal fat grafting, which averages one death per 3,000 procedures. This action hopefully deters two Miami-area plastic surgery centers, where the death rate makes up a significant portion of plastic surgery-related deaths in Florida. 

Safety Tips

  • Have an in-person consultation before your procedure.
  • Check online for recent name changes or reports of injuries or deaths.
  • Make sure that the surgical center has accreditation from a reputable state or national accrediting agency. 

Attorney John Leighton offers additional tips on avoiding medical mistakes:

  • Have a patient advocate with you, such as a spouse or friend, preferably someone with medical knowledge.
  • Ask questions before taking medications. Make sure you receive the correct medication, in the correct dose.
  • Ask questions and have someone looking over the shoulder of all care providers.
  • Do not sign anything unless you fully understand the form, especially anything requiring that you waive rights of going to court, should a complication or death occur. 

Contact Attorney John Leighton

Leighton Law specializes in representing victims of medical mistakes. Founding partner John Elliott Leighton is a board certified trial lawyer who is skilled at representing victims of medical mistakes in Miami. He has won some of the largest verdicts in settlements in Florida in medical malpractice cases. Contact Leighton Law if you or a loved one have been the victim of potential medical malpractice.