In Medical Quest for Youth, Cost-Saving Shortcuts Can Kill
Palm Beach Post (FL)
(2004-12-15) ; Lantigua, John
As the popularity of plastic surgery, including so-called "extreme makeovers," continues to grow, patients who cannot afford the high cost of anti-aging drugs, non-invasive procedures, and surgery are turning to fraudulent, unlicensed "doctors" and general practitioners with little or no experience in the field of plastic surgery.
The perils of seeking discounted or unlicensed anti-aging services were highlighted over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, when four people were hospitalized in critical condition after Dr. Bach McComb of Broward, Fla., injected himself and three patients with an imitation version of the cosmetic drug Botox. Another potentially dangerous substance frequently used in cosmetic procedures is silicone, and experts warn that inexperienced or fraudulent doctors can do great harm if they inject silicone improperly.
In Florida, doctors are allowed to perform a variety of procedures in their offices without having a particular specialization in those procedures. The law has sparked controversy, as experienced plastic surgeons say general practitioners should not be allowed to perform liposuction and other common yet dangerous procedures without expert knowledge. The Florida Board of Medicine also lifted a temporary ban on the controversial two-for-one liposuction and tummy tuck procedure some doctors in the state had been offering. In addition to the dangers of licensed physicians performing procedures they may not be equipped for, Floridians should be wary of unlicensed individuals who pose as real doctors offering to perform delicate procedures at a discount.