‘Felt Like I Was Going to Die:’ Woman Accuses Doctor of Performing Wrong Surgery | NBC Chicago
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‘Felt Like I Was Going to Die:’ Woman Accuses Doctor of Performing Wrong Surgery

Crystal Heath told NBC 5 Investigates she paid for cosmetic surgery but ended up with a tummy tuck that resulted in an 11-day hospital stay and a seven-inch gaping wound

A doctor who promised his patients flat stomachs and curvaceous backsides has been accused of disfiguring and severely injuring patients, NBC 5 Investigates found. Tammy Leitner reports. (Published Monday, May 2, 2016)

A doctor who promised his patients flat stomachs and curvaceous backsides has been accused of disfiguring and severely injuring patients, NBC 5 Investigates found.

Complaints allege Miami Dr. Osaka Omulepu has perforated patients’ organs, used the wrong amount of anesthesia and discharged patients to facilities not capable of providing medical care.

Crystal Heath, 32, from Chicago, told NBC 5 Investigates she paid $4,400 for Dr. Omulepu to perform a buttock augmentation, but instead received a tummy tuck that resulted in an 11-day hospital stay and a seven-inch gaping wound.

“At that moment when everything went wrong, I felt like I was going to die,” Heath said.

Months before, Heath had worked hard to transform her body, dropping 110 pounds and working out religiously. She was proud of the transformation and proud of her new body, but one thing bothered her.

“I had lost a lot of weight. And in the process I lost my butt as well,” Heath said.

She started researching doctors that performed buttock augmentation and started squirreling away money for her dream surgery. After two months, she saved enough and decided on Dr. Omulepu.

The doctor had plenty of flashy promotional videos on YouTube, where he said things like: “My specialty that I love to do is the Brazilian butt lift. I’m known to be very aggressive when it comes to liposuction.”

In another clip he could be heard saying “I think it’s important to have a plan going into surgery.”

But according to Heath, Dr. Omulepu changed the plan mid-surgery.

“He told me I didn’t have enough fat to transfer. After he did my lipo on my sides he told me he woke me up from surgery to tell me I didn’t have enough fat. So that’s how he ended up performing a tummy tuck.”

University of Chicago Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. David Song says that waking a patient from anesthesia to get consent would be highly unusual.

“That’s just a plain tragedy,” said Song. “When you wake a patient up, the lingering effects of anesthesia can last several hours. So in able to get informed consent don’t know how a physician would do that in good conscience and be accurate about providing informed consent to a patient in the waking hours of anesthesia.”

Heath recalled being in a lot of pain when she was finally woken up from surgery.

“I was like, ‘What is wrong? Why am I in so much pain?’ And when I looked down there was like a binder across my stomach and they were like, ‘He gave you a tummy tuck.’ I was like, ‘A tummy tuck? I didn’t need a tummy tuck. I paid for a Brazilian butt lift!’”

Confused and in pain, Crystal was discharged to a motel. 

“I started throwing up instantly. I was throwing up all night. I was throwing up so bad it felt like everything was busting in my stomach.”

Twice she went back to this clinic to see the doctor. But she says, he never showed. 

That’s when she flew home to Chicago and went to the emergency room. Chicago doctors performed emergency surgery, treating her for an infection and acute kidney failure. She was hospitalized for 11 days. 

Crystal filed a complaint with the Florida Health Department and the Attorney General. And she’s not the only one. NBC 5 Investigates found Dr. Omulepu is also accused of other botched beauty treatments, resulting in at least four other patients going to the ER after liposuction and Brazilian butt procedures in May 2015.

We repeatedly called and e-mailed Dr. Omulepu, his attorney and the three clinics where he works, but we got no response. The Florida state medical board finished its investigation and recommended his license be revoked. He has appealed this, and the next step will be a hearing. No date has been set. 

We also discovered Dr. Omulepu is not a board-certified plastic surgeon. Industry experts recommend plastic surgeons be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

“People have to understand that surgery, plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery is real surgery and there are real complications,” said Song, who is also the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

More than 70 percent of Song’s surgeries are revising botched surgeries.

“We see it too common,” he said. “A patient or two a month coming to the emergency room after having had surgery from a non-plastic surgeon. … They come in with infections, with dehiscence, which means incisions falling apart.” 

As for Crystal’s incision, “I was open from hip to hip,” she said.

More than two months after the surgery, Crystal still has a seven-inch gaping wound. Crystal has months of healing ahead of her and mounting medical bills, she says. 

“I’m angry that this man has done this to so many people way before me and they’re still allowing him to practice. That shouldn’t happen. That’s terrible.”

The Florida State Attorney General is now investigating Vanity Cosmetic Surgery - -one of the two Miami clinics where Dr. O practiced medicine. NBC 5 Investigates reached out to the clinic for comment but did not get a response. 

Click the links below to find out if your plastic surgeon is board certified:

American Board of Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

American Board of Medical Specialties

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