Updated June 7, 2017
He says it is his first fatality, but Miami Plastic Surgeon Osakatukei “Osak” Omulepu, 44, has been at the center of several “botched” plastic surgery procedures in the last few years. The surgeon has now been ordered to stop performing plastic surgery after the recent death of one of his patients just last week.
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It’s unclear whether Lattia Baumeister, 30, of Rock Island Illinois, knew prior to her fatal liposuction with fat transfer procedure that Florida officials had made several attempts to bar the surgeon from practicing all together. Since February of 2016, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals has attempted to stop Dr. Omulepu from continuing to perform plastic surgery following four malpractice complaints from patients who’ve endured botched surgeries. But unfortunately, court of appeals continued to reinstate his practicing privileges, without restrictions, under his Florida medical license.
On June 1, Baumeister, a married mother-of-six, was rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, the same day the Florida court of appeals rejected the state’s attempt to stop Omulepu from performing surgery. The doctor has been under investigation for several counts of malpractice from incidents that occurred in May 2015, including two in which he is accused of puncturing the organs of patients while performing liposuction, a procedure he calls his specialty.
The Florida Board of Medicine voted in April to revoke the surgeon’s license after finding him negligent in one of the aforementioned cases. The appeals court then ordered the state to delay the revocation while he appealed the ruling. The Florida Board of Health also petitioned the appellate court to stop Omulepu from performing liposuction, but that request was denied on June 1, the same day as Baumeister’s death.
Dr. Omulepu is not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. His attorney, Monica Rodriguez, is requesting that the court allow Dr. Omulelpu to be able to continue to perform plastic surgery with a board-certified doctor in the room.
Updated March 20, 2017
More sad news out of this clinc: A 25-year old mother, Ranika Hall, has died after undergoing a Brazilian butt lift. The Florida Department of Health and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office are currently investigating the case. This is the fourth death in three years to be linked to this chain of plastic surgery clinics.
Originally Published November 23, 2016
A group of South Florida plastic surgery clinics that have been linked to several patient deaths during cosmetic procedures has reached an agreement with the Florida Attorney General after an investigation into customer complaints about the facility. The owners of the network of affiliated facilities, physician Ismael Labrador and his ex-wife Aimee De La Rosa, agreed to refund $200,000 in deposits to prior customers who had never had their procedures done. The owners also agreed to ensure that all employees are properly trained and licensed and that each facility would abide by consumer protection laws for the state of Florida.
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The group of storefront clinics that operated under the names Vanity Cosmetic Surgery and Encore Plastic Surgery, made headlines twice this year for the untimely deaths of two of its patients. In May, a young mother from West Virginia died due to medical complications during a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure. In September, another patient, who had undergone other cosmetic procedures at same clinic, died during a tummy tuck surgery. A third patient died in 2014 from a lung embolism during a similar procedure. In addition to those fatalities, the group of clinics had amassed more than 125 separate complaints with the Better Business Bureau from consumers whose surgery deposits were never returned, many times after a patient had decided not to follow through with the surgery.
While there have not currently been any charges brought to any of the surgeons involved in the surgeries that resulted in patient deaths, the Florida Department of Health has brought malpractice charges against another physician at Vanity. Dr. Osakatukei Omulepu, who is not board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, reportedly injured four patients in a three-day span while performing Brazilian Butt Lift and liposuction procedures in 2015. Although he appealed the restriction and regained his privileges in September, several former patients testified against him and recounted the long-term injuries and months of subsequent medical bills that occurred as a result of their botched procedures.
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Speaking with the Miami Herald, Giannina Sopo, a representative for Vanity Cosmetic Surgery said that following the investigation and agreement with the Attorney General’s office, the group of clinics would rebrand itself and begin operating under the new name Eres Plastic Surgery. “Like so many of our patients, we too are opening a new chapter in our lives with our rebranding effort,” Sopo said in a written statement. “We have worked from the inside out to improve all aspects of patient care and we are in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that regulate cosmetic surgery centers and businesses.”
As the clinics seek to rebrand and continue to lure patients to South Florida with the promise of cheap plastic surgery, there is no legislative or regulatory office that can stop them from doing so. The onus is on the patient to ensure that no matter where a cosmetic procedure is done, researching your chosen surgeon to confirm they are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a must before undergoing any cosmetic procedures. To determine if a doctor is board-certified in the specialty for which they were trained, visit certificationmatters.org.
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