I'm really not trying to beat a dead horse on this theme, but there is an absolute stunning case developing in Arizona re. the actions of an Internist who reinvented himself as a cosmetic surgeon.

A massage therapist performed a liposuction procedure in which a woman died. A homeopathic physician who was denied a medical doctor's license by the state board did another procedure in which a patient died.Others who performed cosmetic surgery did not have formal medical training,including a bookkeeper and a former restaurant owner. The procedures were all conducted in one Anthem doctor's office, according to a report by the Arizona Medical Board on a case that has left three people dead since December.

After two patients suffered cardiac arrest and died during liposuction procedures in December and April, Dr. Peter James Normann was ordered by the state in May to stop performing surgeries and administering sedation drugs.Less than two months after the order was issued, Gary Page, a homeopathic doctor whom Normann had contracted with to perform medical procedures, did a liposuction on a 53-year-old woman in Normann's office (who later died from either oversedation or lidocaine toxicity I suspect)

Dr. Normann's Web site indicates he is an experienced cosmetic surgeon. But his medical certification was in internal medicine, and his specialty was listed as emergency medicine, according to state medical board records.

This case is absolutely nauseating to me to imagine someone like that is practicing medicine. Three deaths from liposuction in 6 months is staggering. Dr. Normann is certainly not representative of all wanna-be Plastic Surgeons, but he does highlight the seriousness of traditional plastic surgery procedures perceived to be "simple" like liposuction or breast augmentation. I cannot believe that there isn't going to be some real backlash in Arizona over this, and maybe there should be.

This case represents the second well-publicized episode within a year of office-based surgery deaths in AZ (see this post "Office based surgery, is this going o be legislated away?" from last February) the last involving the death of a prominent attorney in an accredited office surgery suite from anesthesia complications. It only takes the energy of a single state representative to put signifigant restrictions on office surgery into play in the legislature.


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