So-called "minimally invasive liposuction" may sound like a dream come true for those wanting to get rid of stubborn bulge. But choose the wrong doctor to perform the surgery, and you could end up losing your life. Sadly, Kellee Lee-Howard learned this lesson the hard way, when she decided to undergo elective cosmetic surgery at the Alyne Medical Rejuvenation Institute under the supervision of a poorly trained doctor.
Lee-Howard, age 32, found an ad for minimally invasive liposuction and decided to undergo the procedure, assuring her husband that she had found the "safe" way to lose weight. However, after undergoing the procedure, Lee-Howard felt sick and laid down on the couch to rest. When her 10-year-old son tried to wake her the next morning, she was dead. She left behind six children total, ages 3 to 14, and a husband. Her family filed suit against the doctor, Sant Antonio, and a plastic surgeon serving as an expert witness in the case stated that there was so much lidocaine in Lee-Howard’s body that it "showed a basic misunderstanding of the principles of pharmacology and patient safety".
Sant Antonio is one of a soaring number of doctors that trained in one specialty and then switched over to plastic surgery, after discovering that it was more lucrative than other areas of medicine. Unfortunately, state laws are often so lax that doctors can switch to plastic surgery after just one weekend of witnessing other doctors performing procedures. This can lead to deadly consequences for patients looking for a quick and guaranteed solution to their weight loss struggles. In fact, Lee-Howard wasn’t the first patient to die under Sant Antonio’s care–Maria Shortall died after a liposuction and fat transfer procedure back in June. Until these laws change that make it harder for doctors to quickly transfer from one area of medicine to another, patients should be wary of big promises for quick fixes.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.