Woman dies during Brazilian butt lift performed by Miami doctor without permission to operate, lawsuit claims

A Tennessee mother of five died after undergoing a Brazilian butt lift performed by a Miami doctor who was allegedly not authorized to perform operations, according to a lawsuit filed by the woman’s family.

Erica Russell, 33, traveled to the Seduction Cosmetic Center offices in Coral Gables, Florida, in June 2021 to undergo the cosmetic procedure. During the surgery, her doctor, John Sampson, He allegedly pierced her liver, bladder and intestines with a cannulaa tube used primarily to remove fluid from the body, said a lawsuit filed Monday in Miami-Dade County court.

Just over two hours into the operation, Russell went into cardiac arrest and died.

At least 93 Americans died as a result of cosmetic surgeries in the Dominican Republic between 2009 and 2022, according to the CDC.Getty Images

According to the lawsuit, her cause of death was determined to be a pulmonary fat embolism and hemorrhage due to liposuction and buttock augmentation surgery.

Attorneys representing Russell’s family said Sampson was not authorized to perform surgical interventions at the center, and alleged that Seduction provided Russell with false documentation stating that the doctor “had cosmetic and plastic surgery privileges” at a local hospital, when he did not.

They also accused Seduction of falsely advertising Sampson “as a surgeon who performed surgeries at its facilities.”

Seduction Cosmetic Center Corp. and Sampson, who appear as defendants in court documents, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Gretel Jardon, president and CEO of Seduction, could not be reached at the phone numbers listed under her name. Jardon is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

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The lawsuit claims that in May 2020, Seduction submitted an application to the Florida Department of Health in which Sampson was listed as its “designated physician,” and did not list him as a surgeon. Sampson’s responsibilities, according to the lawsuit, were to ensure that the facility complied with all applicable health and safety standards and requirements.

In June 2020, Sampson allegedly provided the state Department of Health with a letter “specifically stating” that “does not perform surgical procedures at the facilities of the defendant (clinic), Seduction” in Coral Gables, according to the lawsuit.

“(…) Defendant Sampson was not approved to perform surgical procedures at Seduction,” the lawsuit states. “Despite that, between April 2021 and June 2021, defendant Sampson performed plastic surgery procedures at defendant Seduction (clinic).”

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On June 16, 2021, Sampson allegedly performed procedures on seven patients, including Russell. The lawsuit claims her first surgery was at 6:32 a.m. ET and she began operating on Russell at 8:31 p.m., after a nearly 14-hour shift.

Since September 2022, Sampson has been “permanently restricted from performing gluteal fat grafting procedures” and “serving as a designated physician of an office-based surgery center” regulated by the Department of Health, according to an order issued by that department. state agency following a disciplinary case.

Russell’s attorneys said the department’s decision was “a (very) small step in the right direction.”

“We should not accept this type of behavior in our community. Our firm hopes to move forward in this case and bring these defendants to justice. be held accountable for their actions“, they said in a statement on Facebook.

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A Brazilian butt lift, also known as BBL (Brazilean Butt Lift), is a procedure in which a doctor transfers fat from the stomach, hips, lower back, or thighs to the patient’s butt area. The procedure is performed in two parts: the doctor removes the fat using liposuction and then injects it into the buttock area.

According to WebMD, BBLs are generally safer than other procedures for changing the appearance of a patient’s buttocks, but they are still risky and can be lethal. In a January report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 93 US citizens died as a result of cosmetic surgeries in the Dominican Republic from 2009 to 2022.

Among the cases that ended in death were liposuction and 92% of them included gluteal fat transfer or BBL.