6 November 2009 – Melbourne Australia
A Coronial Inquest in Melbourne, Australia this week heard that Lauren Katherine James, 26, of the inner-city suburb of Kew, died on 22 January 2007 – three days after having liposuction on her thighs and buttocks. She had complained of severe pain, large blisters, and constant bleeding.
Lauren was said to be a slim, healthy woman and the inquest into her death has identified “post operative care” and “infection” as items of interest.
The plastic surgeon who operated on Ms James before her death has vowed never to perform liposuctions again. Dr Tam Dieu told Melbourne Coroners’ Court:
“Since the tragic events of 22 January ’07 I have decided that I should stop performing liposuction … not because I thought I was not capable of doing it … the operation itself was not at fault, the mental scar was too severe that I should not perform that operation (again),”
The young woman’s boyfriend, Simon Dal Zotto, told the inquest he made frequent calls to doctors and the after-hours contact number at the Centre of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in North Caulfield when his girlfriend’s condition deteriorated. Paramedics called to the home were unable to revive Ms James. She died in the hallway.
Dr Dieu, who had performed 215 liposuctions, informed the inquest he wants to help identify the cause of Ms James’ death. “I will do whatever I can for the inquest to find the truth,” he said. Dr Dieu also told the inquest that medical statistics stipulated there was a one in 5000 chance of dying from liposuction.
The inquest heard in one medical review that the operation took just 50 minutes to complete and that suction instruments used were larger than expected, which could have meant a more aggressive operation. Several other medical reviews made no adverse findings about the actual operation. Coroner Paresa Spanos specified that “post-operative care” would be a focus of interest in the cause of death. He also stated that there is a “question of infection” to be investigated.
Dr Dieu further told the inquest he had conducted internet research on a potential cause overnight on Wednesday, 4 November, after learning the full extent of the drug regime given to Ms James and found it had a potentially fatal mix. He reported that the drug Capadex, when given with Pethedine – a painkilling injection given to Ms James when she returned to the cosmetic surgery clinic earlier that Monday in pain – could have contributed to her death. He also said coupled with dehydration , the drug mix “may have had a lethal effect” on Ms James’ respiratory function.
Medical authority warnings
Medical authorities in Australia warn of the potential dangers of liposuction, of its risks, its complications and the side effects. They advise it is not a substitute for weight reduction or a cure for obesity. Nor will it improve a person’s general health and well-being.
Dangers of plastic surgery
Anyone contemplating a plastic surgery procedure should be aware of the dangers. Unfortunately, advertising hype paints a pretty picture of body transformation and how it can fix low self-esteem and even produce a romantic outcome for the patient.
A recent undercover investigation by Australian consumer group Choice revealed some disturbing truths – The investigation exposed the highly unprofessional and dangerous practices of some clinics that might just make you think twice.
If you want to explore any plastic surgery procedure, it is wise to do plenty of research and be aware of the intricacies of the procedure and the risks involved.
To read the findings of the Choice investigation into plastic surgery procedures – CLICK HERE.