Social Media And Plastic Surgery – A Dangerous Mix

Today’s story is about a plastic surgeon who courted social media and had a large following.  She called herself Dr. Roxy and even live-streamed some procedures and answered viewer’s questions during the surgeries.  She has been sued at least 11 times and may lose her medical license.  As matters stand now, that license has been suspended by the Ohio Medical Board for poor care during social media performances and during routine office and surgical care.

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Plastic surgery, indeed all surgery, is a delicate craft.  It requires great attention to detail.  A slip here or a distracted cut there can cause real damage.  Dr. Roxy often seemed to be more focused on her social media interactions than on the well-being of her patients.

Dr. Roxy does not appear to have been a careful surgeon.  One thing I have learned over 40 years of representing people injured by medical malpractice is that sometimes the bowel can get nicked during abdominal surgery through no fault of the surgeon.  The question then becomes whether the surgeon recognized the bowel nick and repaired it before a major infection could develop.  What I have never seen is what happened to one of Dr. Roxy’s patients.  She underwent abdominal surgery and came out of it with her small intestine punctured SIX times.  Some of the punctures went in one side and out the other.  These were not nicks.  Dr. Roxy was also accused of numerous instances of post-operative infections that went unnoticed and untreated until the patient was very sick and substantial damage had occurred.

Dr. Roxy livestreamed a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedure.  As I discussed in last week’s post, the BBL requires liposuction to harvest body fat and then injection of that body fat into the buttocks.  The injection is what is called a blind procedure in that the surgeon cannot see the tip of the cannula being used to inject the body fat and must use palpation and visual cues to determine its location.  As the Ohio Medical Board pointed out, when Dr. Roxy was looking at the camera and answering viewer questions, she could not have been devoting the attention necessary to determine the position of the cannula.  The BBL was one part of a number of procedures that Dr. Roxy performed on that patient that day.  At the conclusion of the procedures, the patient had to be hospitalized as a result of a perforation of the small bowel, a liver injury, and a serious soft tissue infection, all of which required prolonged hospitalization and multiple repair surgeries.

A 2021 breast augmentation by Dr. Roxy went so wrong that the patient ended up having to have both of her breasts removed due to severe post-operative infection.  During the course of treatment, Dr. Roxy misleadingly told a subsequent treating physician that she had already removed the patient’s breast implants when the implants were still in place.

Other lawsuits allege Dr. Roxy altered medical records and allowed staff to perform procedures for which they were neither licensed nor properly trained.  Perhaps the most important question is how the Ohio Medical Board could have allowed a doctor with such a terrible record to continue to practice for as long as it did before its emergency suspension of her license.  The public deserves better than that.

Social media plays a large role in the decision-making process for many patients considering plastic surgery.  According to surveys, nearly half of all patients undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures say that social media played a role in their decision to have the procedure.  Knowing that, it is not surprising that many plastic surgeons use social media to reach potential patients.

There is nothing wrong with a responsible use of social media by a plastic surgeon or any other doctor.  However, when use of social media becomes intrusive or threatens patient privacy or patient care, watch out.  Be careful when considering physicians who seem unduly interested in social media fame.  You want a physician who is most interested in the well-being of her or his patients.  Tik Tok is no place to look for a good plastic surgeon.

 

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