Georgia offers little protection to cosmetic surgery patients - CBS46 News

Only on CBS Atlanta

Georgia offers little protection to cosmetic surgery patients

Posted: Updated:
  • Only on CBS AtlantaGeorgia offers little protection to cosmetic surgery patientsMore>>

  • 2 die after procedures at Kennesaw med spa

    2 die after procedures at Kennesaw med spa

    Tuesday, September 22 2015 7:26 PM EDT2015-09-22 23:26:34 GMT
    The sudden loss of a loved one is a nightmare no family can comprehend. "I always thought I'd be the one to go first," said Erica Beaubrun's brother Serge. John Beaubrun and Elsie Albert had to buryMore >
    The family of a Florida girl who died after liposuction at a Kennesaw medical spa is speaking out, asking why it took 20 minutes for the doctor to call 911.More >

Miami is known as a mecca of beautiful people with perfect bodies. And if you don't have one, you can buy it. Because cosmetic surgery can be pricey in south Florida, Miami resident Erica Beaubrun traveled to metro Atlanta, to the office of Dr. Nedra Dodds, for a cheaper buttocks reduction procedure.

Dodds runs what's called a med spa - a cross between a typical day spa and a cosmetic surgery office. CBS Atlanta learned med spas can often be run by physicians who aren't always trained or certified as plastic or cosmetic surgeons.

Beaubrun went into cardiac arrest after her procedure and died. Beaubrun's family attorney says they were told Erica bled to death and she was found lying in a pool of blood.

In an exclusive interview with her parents, CBS Atlanta asked her mother, Elsie Albert, if Beaubrun had researched Dodds before choosing her to do the procedure.

"I don't think she researched it or even if she did she didn't do it thoroughly enough," Albert said.

Beaubrun is just one of the victims of a booming cosmetic industry that our investigation found has very little regulation. Nationwide there are only 22 states that require licensing or accreditation of medical offices where surgery is performed. Another two require it for only certain procedures.

[View the map here]

What does that mean to consumers? It means the majority of states, including Georgia, may not be doing enough to protect you.

"The state boards are responsible for the healthcare of the citizens," Nabil El Sanadi of Florida's Medical Board said.

Florida's board has recently strengthened regulations in their state to protect patients.

"In the state of Florida, where they've had several of these incidents where there was patient mortality, some of the patients died and there was a moratorium or a hold on any office surgeries until the Board of Medicine for the State of Florida actually came up with rules," El Sanadi said.

Today, Florida's Medical Board requires each facility to register with the state and sends out inspectors to perform routine inspections at each medical office.

"There are 400 registered offices that do office surgery and inspectors go out on a regular basis and they have the right to report that office to the Department of Health if there's any violations as far as sterilizing equipment, resuscitation equipment, and qualifications of the providers," El Sanadi said.

In contrast, Georgia's Medical Board doesn't require any formal licensing of the surgical office and doesn't double check the information physicians provide.

CBS Atlanta asked the medical director of Georgia's Medical Board, Dr. Jean Sumner, how consumers can trust the information on the board's website if the Board doesn't verify what the doctor provides.

"The physician has an obligation by law to provide accurate information," Sumner said.

Yet, we've discovered information on Dodds' profile lists she has hospital privileges with when in fact she doesn't. When we questioned Georgia's Medical Board about the discrepancies, they wouldn't discuss it.

"They are the regulatory body in the state you live in and their due diligence is to protect the citizens," said El Sanadi. "To protect the citizens they have to know the information, but then they cannot be defensive about individual cases."

Ironically, Beaubrun left a state with higher standards for cosmetic surgery and traveled to a state with little to no regulation. Her death leaves two young children who will never really know their mother and her son Blake has been feeling the pain.

"He woke up in the morning and he called his daddy and said, 'Dad, can you call God on the phone and let me speak to my mommy?'" Beaubrun's father, John Beaubrun, said. "That's sad."

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.