The Florida Board of Medicine wants to ban a Miami doctor from performing plastic surgery. Board members accused Dr. Arnaldo Valls of misleading patients and sending two women to the hospital during a hearing Friday morning. One of the patients died.
It's a case the NBC 6 Investigators have been covering since Kizzy London died in December 2017.
The board scrutinized the way Dr. Valls performed two Brazilian butt lift procedures over the past three years. London, who traveled to Miami from Louisiana, died after surgery. Another patient from Boston was hospitalized for a month in 2016.
At least three board members said during the hearing in West Palm Beach they're concerned Dr. Valls isn't qualified to be performing plastic surgery.
"We are uncertain as to his ability to practice medicine and plastic surgery safely with a reasonable skill to protect the citizens of Florida," Dr. Jorge Lopez said. "The testimony of Dr. Valls raised a lot of questions. So, I guess more questions than answers were provided."
Board Chairman Dr. Steven Rosenberg addressed concerns about an additional issue.
He claims Dr. Valls used the logo of a board certified organization on documents that both patients signed even though he's not a member of the organization.
"I think he's also intentionally misleading patients by using a form that says American Society of Plastic Surgery on there," Dr. Rosenberg said.
"I never worked with those associates," Dr. Valls responded but didn't give a reason why the logo and name were on the documents.
The Florida Department of Health and the doctor had reached an agreement about discipline to settle the complaints but the Board of Medicine unanimously rejected the agreement. The board voted to recommend stricter penalties including banning Dr. Valls from performing plastic surgery, suspending his license until his work could be evaluated by a physician, paying a $40,000 fine and taking an ethics and medical records course.
After the hearing Dr. Valls' attorney Ralph Patino said he won't accept the discipline proposed by the board and plans to fight it.
When asked about his reaction to the board's recommendations, Dr. Valls declined to comment.
He has seven days to accept or formally reject the board's decision. If the doctor does reject it, the case will be heard by an administrative judge to decide a possible punishment.
Meanwhile, Dr. Valls is allowed to continue practicing medicine but his license is restricted. He's not allowed to perform liposuction or Brazilian butt lift procedures.
The NBC 6 Investigators have uncovered the deaths of at least ten women since 2010 who have died after undergoing a Brazilian butt lift procedure – at different clinics, with different doctors.
Now a proposed bill in the Florida Senate would allow the Department of Health to have more regulation over the industry and take action against doctors and clinics in the case of serious injury or death.
The proposed changes include requiring all surgery centers to be registered to a designated doctor. As it stands now, anyone can own a plastic surgery center in Florida. If passed, the changes would also include allowing the Board of Medicine to revoke a center or doctor's registration in the case of serious injury or death and requiring a clean record for five years before anyone can open a surgery center.
The deaths uncovered by the NBC 6 Investigators led to a worldwide study in 2016 that led doctors to issue new recommendations on how the Brazilian butt lift procedure should be performed. Also, in 2017, the reporting done by the NBC 6 Investigators led a group of surgeons from around the country to travel to Miami to study cadavers to learn additional steps to make the industry safer. Their findings are expected to be released later this year.