Florida lawmakers OK sweeping changes to crack down on deadly cosmetic surgery facilities

Nicola Mason, 46, a Maryland mother of two, was left badly scarred from a botched surgery at one of the more troubled cosmetic surgery centers in Miami.
Nicola Mason, 46, a Maryland mother of two, was left badly scarred from a botched surgery at one of the more troubled cosmetic surgery centers in Miami.

After years of rampant deaths in Florida’s cosmetic surgery clinics, state lawmakers approved sweeping legislation Wednesday that calls for some of the nation’s strictest controls of the industry. 

If signed by the governor, the new law would allow the state for the first time to punish dangerous plastic surgery facilities and shut down the worst offenders. 

The legislation passed after years of no regulation in Florida, where private investors opened high-volume, discount clinics that became magnets for women seeking cosmetic procedures.     

“It’s been long overdue,” said Crystal Call, 34, of New York, whose mother found her in a locked recovery room nearly bleeding to death after her surgery in Miami. “[It’s] sad that so many people had to die or have serious injuries

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Women seeking discount plastic surgery paid with their lives at clinics opened by felons

MIAMI – One man pleaded guilty to bank fraud. One was convicted of grand theft in a real estate scam. Two others admitted to elaborate Medicare schemes that siphoned millions from taxpayers.

In Florida, one of the nation’s top destinations for plastic surgery, a felony conviction can bar someone from operating a massage parlor or a pawn shop.

But not from running a cosmetic surgery clinic.

Nearly a dozen miles from the iconic beaches of South Florida, the four convicted felons ran facilities that became assembly lines for patients from across the country seeking the latest body sculpting procedures at discount prices.

And at those businesses, at least 13 women have died after surgeries. Nearly a dozen others were hospitalized with critical injuries, including punctured internal organs.

The state health department was alerted to the casualties. Government inspectors cited the clinics for serious violations, including dirty operating rooms and sales

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