Florida is once again making headlines for an unlicensed practitioner performing a cosmetic procedure with pretty traumatizing results. In this case, the patient wound up in a coma and almost died. Turns out that the practitioner, Ena Boulton, injected the patient’s backside with black market fillers. Sadly, this kind of thing seems to be happening more and more frequently. People will spend more time researching their TV purchase than their doctors. On this episode of No Spin Live, Dr. Bill Adams of Dallas, TX discusses this latest incident with his colleagues Dr. Jason Pozner of Boca Raton, FL, Dr. Ned Snyder of Austin, TX and Dr. Lee Thornton of Meridian, MS as well as what you can do to protect yourself.
Florida is a Hot Bed for Unlicensed Practitioners
Although unlicensed medical practitioners exist all across the country, Florida does seem to have more than its fair share of stories about patients who visit shady “plastic surgeons” and receive less than ideal results. “Florida seems to be the gateway for all of these procedures. We never hear unlicensed California or New York” says Dr. Pozner. “And I think it’s a Latin American thing”. Practitioners come up to Florida from other countries. They may or may not be licensed. They are definitely not regulated. These so called plastic surgeons typically perform their procedures in their garages and their bedrooms. “And the patients suffer from it”.
Much Worse Than a Bad Aesthetic Result
It can be much more serious than a bad aesthetic result. In this patient’s case, she went in for a buttock augmentation. Ms. Boulton injected her with blackmarket fillers that not only left the patient:
diminished gross defined motor skills
contracture deformities to her extremities
The patient wound up in a coma for over a month. Thankfully, she woke up, but not every patient is so lucky. Ironically, Ms. Boulton “was first arrested in Californian and then moved to Florida because it’s easier to get away with this kind of thing in Florida” explains Dr. Snyder.
How Do Patients Get Suckered In?
How is it possible for people to get suckered in to risking their lives for cheap injections, for example? “Over the years, I’ve often said that people will research their new car purchases more than the credentials of their surgeon. It’s really a shame” says Dr. Thornton. A lot of people still don’t have a good idea of what to look for in a doctor. The meaning of:
- good training
- board certification
These are lost on most patients. They hear through word of mouth that someone had a great experience with so and so practitioner or got the procedure for cheap, and they sign on the dotted line. Or else “they fall prey to an ad which is very often the case”. They don’t check to make certain that this person who is calling him or herself a plastic surgeon is actually licensed.
Do Your Homework
The problem also goes beyond people getting bad results from an unlicensed practitioner. Our experts have all seen instances where someone went to a physician who was not properly trained to perform plastic surgery with disastrous results. Patients need to do their homework “And the states really need to crack down on this” says Dr. Thornton.
There is a lot of marketing out here that can make an unlicensed or poorly trained practitioner look legit. So, if you are considering an aesthetic procedure, ask questions. Make sure that the person is licensed. Better yet, make sure that he or she is a board certified plastic surgeon. Look at the plastic surgeon’s before and after photos and/or speak with prior patients. Ask the doctor how many of these procedures he or she performs in a year. Check out how long the surgeon has been in practice. The answers to these questions will go a long way towards helping you to understand the level of training and expertise that this particular plastic surgeon has for your specific procedure. And this is the best thing that you can do to guarantee your safety as well as an excellent result.