A fine and a speech for a Miami doctor after the death of a Brazilian patient from a buttock lift?
Mistakes made by New Life Plastic Surgery’s Dr. Oliver Simmons that led to Tanisha Walker’s death will likely cost him a $10,000 fine and the time spent lecturing for an hour on potential complications during buttock fat grafting.
This form of liposuction is commonly referred to as a “Brazilian butt lift” or “BBL” and it was what Simmons had completed on Walker at New Life when she died on April 20 at the age of 46.
As for the fine, the speech and certain other restrictions, they are contained in the settlement agreement concluded between the Florida Department of Health and Simmons. This agreement has been submitted for the approval of the State Board of Medicine, which will give its yes or no in a final order. at the plenary meeting on February 3 at 8 a.m..
READ MORE: Here’s how to see your Brazilian doctors for butt lift or plastic surgery in Florida
The full punishment proposed by Simmons and how it was achieved
After the Department of Health’s investigation and the autopsy of Miami-Dade’s chief medical examiner Kenneth Hutchins, the department said Simmons violated Florida law by injecting fat into Walker’s gluteal muscles during the BBL. The department’s memo to the Board of Medicine regarding the settlement agreement says the guidelines for this violation are, for the license, one year probation upon revocation and an administrative fine in the range of $2,500 to $10,000.
It says nothing about what happens if the first offense involves the death of a patient.
In arguing for the Board of Medicine to accept the settlement agreement, Simmons’ attorney, Jon Pellett of Pennington Law, pointed to the cases of Dr. Stephanie Stover and Dr. Sergio Alvarez.
▪ Like Simmons, Stover’s Florida license showed no prior discipline issues prior to her September 15, 2020 breast augmentation, tummy tuck, lip suction and Brazilian butt lift surgery on Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez, 46, at Xiluet Plastic Surgery (it’s the same Xiluet blocked state inspectors entry in July 2021).
An administrative law judge ruled that the Health Department proved that fat from Romualdo-Rodriguez’s gluteal muscles traveled to his lungs to create a fatal embolism. But the judge said the department failed to prove that Stover acted with reckless disregard for his patient’s health. She was fined $5,000 and placed on one-year probation “under indirect supervision without restriction of practice.”
Stover’s license profile now bears the address of New Life Plastic Surgery.
▪ Sergio Alvarez of Mia Aesthetics was fined $5,000 and given a year of probation during which he could only be an observer in any Brazilian butt lift.
Simmons’ full sentence in the proposed settlement agreement includes:
A letter of reprimand against his license;
▪ A fine of $10,000 and reimbursement of the department’s investigation and prosecution costs between $7,588 and $9,588;
▪ A one-hour lecture/seminar he is to give on the safety and possible complications of BBL surgeries to staff at a licensed medical facility;
▪ Ultrasound guidance must be used during BBLs for at least six months after the final decree of the Medical Council.
The emergency restraining order prohibiting Simmons from lifting Brazilian buttocks is lifted. Pellet’s letter to the Board states that the American Board of Plastic Surgery certification that Simmons held since 2014 will remain on probation until Simmons fulfills the settlement agreement. His certification from the American Board of Otolalyngology in Head and Neck Surgery remains.
READ MORE: Miami surgeon can’t perform Brazilian butt lift after patient dies, state says
Tanisha Walker’s Cosmetic Surgery Journey to South Florida
The restraining order and testimony for the Department of Health from Miami board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Pat Pazmiño noted that when Walker came from Indiana, she traveled to Bright Plastic Surgery in Weston on April 18, 2022. While evaluating Walker for breast reduction surgery, Dr. Paul Goldberg thought Walker’s body mass index was 38.1; history of high blood pressure; medication list containing more than one blood pressure medication; and pre-diabetic state added to “no”.
Pazmiño wrote that Goldberg “noted that she was not a candidate for office surgery, but perhaps she would be a candidate for surgery in a hospital.”
A day later, Simmons approved Walker for Brazilian butt lift surgery at New Life, 8400 SW Eighth St. Simmons cut Walker on April 20. Pellet’s letter acknowledges that Walker was 5-foot-4 and 230 pounds with an even higher body mass index, 39.5, than the day before.
Pazmiño criticized the documents New Life gave Walker as misleading because they stated that New Life has privileges at the Larkin Community Hospital, when it is the doctor who has privileges at a hospital. But, more damagingly, he noted that Simmons had punctured the abdominal wall between the 11th and 12th ribs; caused internal bleeding around the left kidney when he damaged it; and injected fat into the gluteal muscle, which caused the fatal pulmonary embolism.
In one lung, Miami-Dade Chief Medical Examiner Hutchins found “there are numerous vessels filled with fatty emboli” and “there is plant matter in the small airways” .
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