NY Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice Proves Fatal

Four women died recently after New York prosecutors struck a NY cosmetic surgery malpractice deal last year with a plastic surgeon accused of the unauthorized practice of medicine and allowed him to avoid jail time and return to his native country to continue performing cosmetic procedures.

Hector Cabral, who maintains a license to practice medicine in the Dominican Republic but not in the U.S., was accused in 2011 of luring American women to his home country to undergo cut-rate cosmetic procedures, according to the New York Post. The practice is often referred to as “lipotourism,” with some estimates putting the portion of Dominican Republic plastic-surgery patients who travel from outside the country to obtain low-rate procedures at 80 percent.

Plastic surgery mistakes in New York

The dangers of lipotourism are not new. As far back as 2003, New York City officials took note of at least nine women returning from the Dominican Republic with “serious and disfiguring bacterial infections that required months of antibiotic treatment,” according to the New York Post report. The following year, the city issued official warnings discouraging traveling to the Caribbean country for surgical procedures.

The charges Cabral, age 52,  faced – 10 counts of unauthorized practice of medicine for seeking out new patients in New York beauty and nail salons, drawing on their problem-areas with markers, and recommending cosmetic procedures – carried a potential jail sentence of 20 years, though authorities allowed him to pay a fine instead.

The deal agreed to by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office allowed Cabral to plead guilty to only one of the ten NY cosmetic surgery malpractice charges, and to avoid serving any time in jail by instead paying a $5,000 fine and $23,055 in restitution fees, and agreeing to complete 250 hours of community service in the Dominican Republic. Once back in his native country, Cabral continued to work at the International Center for Advanced Plastic Surgery, which he owns.

Erika Hernandez, 31, of Washington Heights, New York died in late August, 17 days after undergoing a series of procedures in Cabral’s Santo Domingo office. The mother of seven traveled to the Dominican Republic to have the surgeries, which would have cost more than twice as much in New York, compared with the $6,000 total price tag Cabral charged for the tummy tuck, liposuction, lipo sculpture and butt implants, the New York Post reported.

Hernandez told her friend who accompanied her to the procedure that the anesthesia wore off before her seven-hour surgery was over but that her complaints of excruciating pain were ignored by operating room staff. Hernandez continued to experience severe pain and high fevers, and died Aug. 29 at a different clinic in Santiago.

Just two months before Hernandez underwent her operations, the Dominican authorities closed Cabral’s clinic for 10 days in June, following the deaths of three overseas women following their cosmetic procedures, though Cabral, who owned the plastic surgery center, was not the surgeon on those cases.

Hernandez’ family told the New York Post that she was unaware of Cabral’s controversial background and previous charges. “They shouldn’t have let him go to kill my daughter,” her mother told the newspaper.

Legal recourse after cosmetic surgery malpractice

New Yorkers who have been victims of botched or injurious plastic surgery mistakes in New York, can fight back by contacting the veteran trial lawyers at The Sanders Firm to determine whether they may be eligible for compensation through filing a medical malpractice claim. Attorneys at The Sanders Firm offer more than 45 years experience successfully litigating NY cosmetic surgery malpractice cases. For a free case evaluations to help you determine the best course for legal action, please call our offices any time, night or day at 1.800 FAIR PLAY (800.324.7752). ResourcesNY Post – Woman dies after cosmetic surgery by dubious doc http://nypost.com/2013/09/21/woman-dies-after-cosmetic-surgery-by-dubious-doctor-in-dr/