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‘She’s Still Supposed to be Here with Us’: Grandmother of 11 Dies After BBL Procedure In Florida. Her Doctor Walks Away with a $10K Fine.

The Florida Board of Medicine has reached a settlement with a Miami plastic surgeon whose botched Brazilian butt lift surgery preceded the death of a 47-year-old Indiana woman.

The physician walks away with a $10,000 fine, costs for the investigation, and a mandated one-hour lecture “on safety and possible complications” of such procedures.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the full board of the Florida Board of Medicine voted on the penalty to New Life Plastic Surgery’s Dr. Oliver Simmons for his part in the death of Tanesha Walker, who died after having a gluteal fat grafting surgery under his care on April 20, 2022.

“My mom isn’t supposed to be dead. She’s still supposed to be here with us,” said Tierra Gosha, Walker’s daughter.

Woman dies during butt lift surgergy in Miami.
Tanesha Walker reportedly died on Apr. 20, 2022, while undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift. (YouTube screenshot/NBC 6)

Based on the results of an autopsy performed by Miami-Dade Chief Medical Examiner Kenneth Hutchins, officials determined the doctor violated Florida law by injecting fat into Walker’s gluteal muscles during the BBL, the Miami Herald reported.

The settlement reached between Simmons and the Florida Department of Health in front of the Florida Board of Medicine includes a letter of reprimand against his license, a $10,000 fine, reimbursement of $9,588.67 to the department’s investigation and prosecution costs, the commitment to do a one-hour lecture/seminar on safety and possible complications of BBL surgeries at a medical facility, and have ultrasound guidance during his BBLs procedures until such time as the state determines that guidance is no longer necessary.

This is a little different from the penalties for Dr. John Sampson, a plastic surgeon at Seduction Cosmetic Surgery in Coral Gables, whose 33-year-old patient died the same day of her BBL procedure on June 16, 2021.

Newsweek reports in Sampson’s case, decided on Friday, Sept. 8, 2022, the board banned him from performing the procedure again and fined $20,000 and $5,626 for the investigation and prosecution costs.

The physician was ordered to perform five hours of continuing medical education in medical records despite being the “designated physician” and performing multiple surgeries between April and June 2021. On the day of his client’s death, he did seven operations.

Like in the Simmons settlement, Sampson was ordered to conduct a one-hour lecture on liposuction and gluteal fat grafting (BBL surgeries are a form of each) and will never be a “designation physician” at any office surgery center again.

Looking past the obvious dangers of body surgery and the seemingly soft penalties some doctors receive when their patients die from the procedures, many of the doctors are not properly insured to perform these surgeries.

USA Today did a report and discovered one in five Florida plastic surgeons is uninsured, even though they heavily promote their services on social media. Doctors self-report to the department of health if they carry medical malpractice insurance, and even in those cases, data shows authorities rarely verify their claims.

The nearly 6,900 doctors in Sunshine state doctors in this space who don’t have malpractice insurance “have been disciplined 44% more frequently over the past decade.”

The study said there is a higher risk involved when they perform the body sculpting techniques and are allowed to stay in business.

Attorney Michael Grife, who represented a malpractice victim who had a doctor accidentally puncture her intestines during liposuction and inject fat into her sciatic nerve, which left her in a medically induced coma at 35, said, “In Florida, unfortunately, there are many plastic surgeons who do a lot of harm to patients – who either kill them or leave them on death’s door and then they do not have the means to compensate the patients that they’ve harmed.”

Grife’s former client was lucky. She is still alive.

Simmons’ client Walker did not have the same fate, she lost her life due to the procedure.

Family members of Walker, a grandmother to 11, have long questioned Simmons’ credentials and truthfulness.

Walker’s niece Tataneshia Middleton was one of the last to see her aunt alive. She said after the BBL procedure, she came to her truck and told her she was feeling lightheaded.

“She didn’t feel well,” she recalled. Instead of going to the recovery center, Middleton said she was taken to the hospital.

In a statement released in 2020 by New Life Plastic Surgery, Walker underwent surgery at 9:35 a.m. and was taken to a recovery room by 11:05 a.m.

Two hours later, the doctor and facility discharged her at 1:39 p.m.

Middleton said she was told she could pick up her relative around 1:15 pm but felt something was wrong.

“I feel like it’s something going on with the facility, specifically the doctor because his story is opposite with what the transportation lady told us,” Middleton said to NBC Miami after Walker died.

More research by media sources uncovered Walker was the second patient to die after having a procedure at New Life Plastic Surgery.

Months prior to her demise, the first patient, who died in February 2022, sustained a blood clot in her lungs after a liposuction and tummy tuck procedure at the facility.

According to testimony for the Department of Health by Miami board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Pat Pazmiño, a doctor named Paul Goldberg said when Walker came into the facility on Apr. 18, 2022, she was evaluated for breast reduction surgery. It was determined she had a history of high blood pressure, was labeled pre-diabetic, and had a body mass index of 38.1. In his opinion, “she was not a candidate for office surgery, but maybe she would be a candidate for surgery in a hospital.”

Still, a day later, Simmons approved her for the risky BBL surgery.

The 5-foot-4 and 230-pound patient, whose family members said “was there for everyone,” may have been unhealthy, but they say her death came from Simmons’ malpractice.

Authorities state he “injected fat into the gluteal muscle, which caused the fatal pulmonary embolism.”

Miami-Dade Chief Medical Examiner Hutchins said he found in her lungs “many vessels filled with fat emboli” and “there is vegetable matter in the small airways.”

The settlement is resolved, and his certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery will still be listed as probation until the board makes a final decision.

Simmons’ certification with the American Board of Otolaryngology certification in Head and Neck Surgery has never been compromised and remains active.

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