Anyone can own and operate a plastic surgery center in Florida, even if they’re not a doctor.
But that could change. A new bill that passed a Senate committee on Monday would require the person operating a plastic surgery center to be a medical doctor. The bill would also give the state more power to revoke a doctor’s license.
Senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami, wrote the legislation after the NBC 6 Investigators were first to uncover the deaths of at least ten women since 2010 - who died after having plastic surgery. The issue has since received national attention.
“Really the reporting that we’ve seen over the past few months and really over the past few years has been incredibly eye-opening and it’s high time something get done,” Senator Flores said.
The new bill would enact a number of changes. It would require all surgery centers to be registered to a medical doctor. It would allow the state’s Board of Medicine to revoke a center or doctor’s registration in the case of serious injury or death, and it would require a clean record for five years before anyone can open a surgery center.
“People are coming to South Florida to get cosmetic surgery done and they are dying and we need to fix that problem,” Senator Flores said.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhaur, better known as “Dr. Miami”, also spoke in front of the Senate Committee on Health Policy Monday afternoon. He supports the bill, along with the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons.
“Anything we can do to strengthen patient safety, I’m for,” Dr. Salzhaur said. He also believes the bill could go even further and require tougher restrictions on doctors involved in a death.
“It’s kind of like grounding the fleet when there’s an airplane crash,” Dr. Salzhaur said. “I feel like that office or that operating room should just stop for two weeks and then do a thorough assessment.”
The Health Policy Committee passed the bill Monday. However, the legislation still has to be passed in at least one other committee hearing before it can go to the Senate floor for a vote.
“This is a real black eye on Florida and specifically South Florida and we have to make it stop,” Senator Flores said.
The bill has received some opposition from those in the anesthesia industry. The bill requires stricter protocols for putting a patient under before surgery that, some say, would cost more money.
The Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists released a statement saying in part, “While we applaud the Senator’s efforts to protect patients, we are extremely concerned about a provision in her legislation that would impose restrictions on Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists that are not required in any other healthcare setting or state law.”
The deaths uncovered by the NBC6 Investigators led to a worldwide study in 2016. It found people were twenty times more likely to die after a Brazilian Butt Lift than any other kind of plastic surgery. The study led doctors to issue new recommendations on how the Brazilian Butt Lift procedure should be performed.
Also, in 2017, the reporting done by the NBC6 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.