Florida Surgeon Charged in Wife’s Death Following Botched Surgery

Florida Surgeon Charged in Wife’s Death Following Botched Surgery featured image
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In a deeply troubling incident, authorities have charged Dr. Benjamin Brown, a Florida plastic surgeon, with homicide and negligent manslaughter after his wife, Hillary Brown, died during a surgical procedure at the Restore Plastic Surgery clinic in Gulf Breeze. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office announced the arrest on Monday, highlighting significant lapses in medical protocol and patient care.

  • Dr. Alan J. Durkin in a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Vero Beach, FL
  • Dr. Darrick E. Antell is a board certified plastic surgeon based in New York

Dr. Brown, 41, was performing multiple procedures on his wife in November 2023, when she became unresponsive and suffered a seizure. Despite the critical situation, Dr. Brown hesitated to call 911, a decision that proved fatal. Although Hillary Brown was eventually transported to a hospital and placed on life support, she died a week later.

The Florida Department of Health had already raised concerns about Dr. Brown’s practices in May, seeking to restrict his medical license. The department’s report detailed that Hillary Brown prepared her own IV bags and ingested multiple medications, including Valium, prior to the surgery. Dr. Brown’s failure to accurately document the IV contents and the medications taken by Hillary added to the severity of the case. Witnesses also stated that Dr. Brown continued to inject lidocaine even after his wife showed signs of distress, including muscle twitching and blurred vision, which are early indicators of lidocaine toxicity.

New York plastic surgeon Darrick E. Antell, MD emphasized the importance of proper certification and adherence to medical protocols. “This tragic event highlights the risks inherent in any surgery,” Dr. Antell explained. “It is crucial that patients ensure their doctors are board-certified and that the surgical facility is accredited. The hesitancy to call 911 in such a critical moment is particularly concerning.”

A Chaotic Scene

According to Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan J. Durkin, MD, this case is a perfect storm of bad decisions. “This has got to be the worst case I have ever seen in my entire career,” he stated. “This case has so many red flags. Undertaking an aggressively comprehensive procedure like this is daunting. To elect and undertake this procedure as the only surgeon and anesthesia provider in the room is to invite disaster.” 

According to reports, Hillary Brown exhibited classic signs of lidocaine toxicity, yet Dr. Brown continued with the injections instead of responding appropriately. “It’s a shocking deviation from standard medical practice,” says Dr. Durkin. He explains that while lidocaine is commonly used in surgery, surgeons are well aware of its potential dangers. “For liposuction, we use a very diluted form of lidocaine, which is immediately suctioned out. Injecting concentrated lidocaine directly into the muscle is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, as it tragically appears to have been in this case.”

Delaying Assistance

Witnesses reported that even as Hillary Brown’s condition worsened, Dr. Brown refused to call for emergency help. “A medical assistant asked him multiple times if they should call 911, but he insisted on handling it himself,” Dr. Durkin recounted. “It was only after 10 to 20 minutes of her having a seizure that he finally agreed to call for help.”

Dr. Brown’s actions during the surgery and his delay in seeking emergency assistance have now led to serious legal rThe case has sparked significant concerns about surgical practices and patient safety. Dr. Brown’s clinic, Restore Plastic Surgery in Gulf Shores, is now listed as “permanently closed” on Google.

Dr. Antell emphasizes that this case carries broader implications. “This incident tragically reminds us that all surgery involves risks, underscoring the critical importance of adhering to proper medical protocols. Patients must exercise diligence in selecting their healthcare providers and ensuring comprehensive safety measures are in place.”

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