Only 20 percent of the plastic surgeons practising in the sunshine state have malpractice insurance.
Nyosha Fowler is spent weeks in an induced coma after cosmetic surgery. During the procedure, Dr. Osakatukei Omulepu punctured her bowels and injected fat into her sciatic nerve by mistake. When Fowler awoke from the coma, she owed the hospital a million dollars. Omulepu had no malpractice insurance, and Fowler could find no legal way to hold him responsible.
She lost her job, her home, and her health.
Dr. Omulepu later told reporters that malpractice insurance was too expensive."Why pay it if you don’t have to?" he reflected.
About 6,900 Florida doctors practice without malpractice insurance. When a patient is harmed by one of these physicians, the patient is likely out of luck. This often results in financial ruin, as patients struggle to pay for treatments to fix the damage.
Many of the uninsured doctors licensed in Florida have faced severe disciplinary action in other states. The sunshine state is one of 32 U.S. states where doctors can practice without malpractice insurance.
Miami’s Dangerous “Butcher Shops”
Discount plastic surgeries bring in massive revenues for uninsured South Florida doctors. Generating a medical tourism boom, trendy surgeries like the Brazilian butt lift can be had in our state for a fraction of the price paid elsewhere in America.
This loosely regulated industry has already taken the lives of several patients who came to Florida.
Butt lifts, which involve the transfer of fat from other areas of the body to the buttocks, can be especially dangerous. One in every 3,000 people who undergo the procedure die, while the mortality rate for all plastic surgery procedures performed at doctor’s offices is a much lower at 1 in 50,000.
Florida Statute 458.320 basically provides that “As a condition of licensing and maintaining an active license. . .for the practice of medicine, an applicant must. . . demonstrate. . . financial responsibility to pay claims and costs ancillary thereto arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.”
In practice, however, the State of Florida routinely fails to check whether doctors are informing patients that they are uninsured for malpractice, and it rarely checks that they have sufficient funds to pay potential claims. It is common practice for uninsured doctors to refuse to pay anything.
In fact, some uninsured doctors have adopted a scheme where they pay for legal protection from lawyers to fight lawsuits with no money ever allocated to victims.
At least eight women have died in Miami. A single doctor was in charge of the two clinics where these women were fatally injured. Dr. Ismael Labrador hired doctors with no plastic surgery certification and ran the clinics like assembly lines, with professionals performing procedures one after another, from morning till evening.
After injuring Nyosha Fowler, Dr. Omulepu eventually went back to the operating room. The last woman he operated on was more unlucky than Nyosha. She died.