Some non-plastic-surgeons disciplined for disastrous results

ByABC News
September 13, 2011, 10:53 PM

— -- Some recent cases and incidents illustrate the possible risks when those who aren't board-certified plastic surgeons practice cosmetic surgery:

Cosmetic surgery murder conviction

An Arizona internal medicine doctor was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter in July for three deaths that followed cosmetic surgery procedures at his clinic.

The doctor, Peter Normann, had just six days of training in liposuction and none in fat-transfer surgery, which he performed on one of the patients, said Jeannette Gallagher, deputy county attorney in Phoenix, at the trial. Two of the victims died because of the anesthesia; another because of a fat embolism as a result of the surgery. Gallagher said they could have been saved if Normann hadn't inserted breathing tubes improperly.

After the first two deaths, Normann agreed to a restriction of his license that prohibited him from doing procedures in his office, according to his attorney, Vikki Liles. A homeopathic doctor performed the surgery in Normann's office that led to the death of the last victim, the Arizona Republic said in its trial coverage.

Gallagher said at the trial that Normann's surgical assistants included a janitor and a massage therapist, the latter of whom was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to eight counts of unlawful practice of medicine. Liles said the deaths were the result of known complications of cosmetic surgery and that Normann plans to appeal. He faces up to 56 years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday.

Liposuction in an apartment bedroom

In June, Myrtle Beach, S.C., police raided an illegal liposuction clinic in a condominium bedroom and arrested three people from Colombia, including a family practitioner who didn't have a license to practice medicine in the United States. All three were jailed on charges including first-degree assault and battery.

In the bedroom where the procedures took place, vinyl flooring was taped on the carpet to keep blood off the carpet, according to a statement for the North Myrtle Beach police by Ralph Cozart, a Myrtle Beach plastic surgeon who assisted police with the raid. The instruments used to remove fat were soaking — while filled with blood and fat — in a solution that appeared to be water, bleach and bathroom disinfectant, Cozart wrote.

Cozart also treated one of the victims at the emergency room. The woman, who said she was recruited at a hair salon, was in shock from blood loss when she arrived, according to Cozart's statement, contained in police files.

Long liposuction procedure ends in death

A Beverly Hills gynecologist lost his medical license in January after Sharon Carpenter Nicholson, 61, died following a liposuction surgery that lasted all day and into the night. In a complaint against Ehab Aly Mohamed, California's medical board documented what it said was negligence against three other patients. Charges include letting a drugged patient drive home, misrepresenting that he was a Harvard professor and failing to keep adequate records of patients' care.

Eye doctor charged after risky breast surgery

Georgia's medical board ordered Alpharetta eye doctor Rajesh Rangaraj to stop performing cosmetic surgery last fall after he performed breast-implant surgery on a woman who had to be rushed to the hospital to stop her bleeding, according to the medical board's order. The board said Rangaraj didn't have adequate assistance during the procedure and didn't make sure his equipment was working. The board also said Rangaraj was misleading in his advertising, which implied he was a board-certified plastic surgeon.