Three arrested after illegal liposuction in a North Carolina apartment

Here’s the story from wbtv.com. (Edited for brevity.)

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – After three people were charged with an illegal liposuction procedure in a North Myrtle Beach apartment, the doctor who treated the victim has spoken up to warn others about the threat of uncertified plastic surgeons.

Dr. Ralph Cozart said he was the on-call plastic surgeon at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach Friday when he was called in to respond to a 19-year-old woman who came to the hospital in hemorrhagic shock.

“Had she been 40 or 50 years old, I’m afraid she might not have survived,” Cozart said.

Describing the illegal liposuction procedure done in an apartment, Cozart said, “she wasn’t given the proper fluids to replace the fluids that were suctioned out. The equipment was not sterile. They did not have sterilization equipment at all. They were using bleach to decontaminate the instruments.”

The victim told an officer she arranged the liposuction after seeing a particular advertisement online. She said two people picked her up from Myrtle Beach Mall on Thursday and took her to an apartment in North Myrtle Beach to get the liposuction. The woman said she paid $1,500 up front, and she was expected to pay $1,500 after the procedure. The victim stated she was given several pills, causing her to become unconscious.

She said when she woke up the two people were taking her home. According to the woman’s statement in a police incident report, the woman’s mother took her to the hospital Friday evening after she became sick and continued to bleed from her puncture wounds.

Police arrested Adriana Chica Neibles, 41, of Bogota, Colombia, who they believe was doing procedures for which she was not qualified. Chica Neibles was the person featured in the online advertisement. North Myrtle Beach Police also arrested Nubia Trujillo Rojas, 53, of Nelva, Colombia, and Miguel Trujillo-Orozco, 31, of North Myrtle Beach.

All three people are charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, practice of medicine without a license, and possession of illegal substances.

Cozart said whether it is online or at an office, the problem of people offering procedures they do not have enough training in is more common than many people think. “There are doctors who say they’re board certified, but they don’t say what they’re board certified in,” Cozart explained. “They may be family practice. They may be internal medicine. It doesn’t mean they’re board certified plastic surgeons if they’re doing liposuction. There’s no law against it. There’s no scope of practice law in South Carolina.”

Editor’s note: There are many “red flags” in this story. This patient got suckered by a price that was “too good to be true”. She didn’t do her research. Sounds like she was lucky to survive!

1) Only have surgery performed by a qualified, Board-certified specialist.
2) Only have major surgery performed in a certified & accredited surgical center or hospital.

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