Bob LaMendola and Sally Kestin, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, report that regulations put in place a decade ago have not reduced the number of deaths related to cosmetic surgery in Florida.
They report that at least 32 people have died in the past 10 years soon after having cosmetic surgery – including “four South Florida mothers in their 30s who went under the knife in the past two years,” according to state incident reports and police records. The causes of death among the 32 people included poor medical care, reactions to anesthesia and heart and breathing problems.
A Sun-Sentinel series in 1998 by Fred Schulte and Jenni Bergal revealed 34 deaths in the preceding 12 years, some of which were “blamed on lengthy surgeries involving multiple procedures at doctors’ offices that were not then being regulated.” (Full disclosure: I was responsible for the online presentation of that series.)
Following the series, the Florida medical board put in place rules that limited lengthy operations, liposuction procedures and overnight stays and included regular inspections.
LaMendola and Kestin point out that the atmosphere around cosmetic surgery has changed in the intervening years:
One reason for the continued deaths may be a huge growth in cosmetic surgeries, but some surgeons, malpractice attorneys and industry experts say problems persist, and the state needs to do more.