‘This does not feel safe’: Inspectors shut down plastic surgery clinics

A new body-worn camera video obtained by Local 10 News shows the moments inspectors with the city of Doral had to shut down a cosmetic surgery clinic in early March.

DORAL, Fla. – A new body-worn camera video obtained by Local 10 News shows the moments inspectors with the city of Doral had to shut down a cosmetic surgery clinic in early March.

“You’re operating without a certificate of use and occupancy. I have to shut you down. I am obligated to shut this down,” the city’s building official told the owner of Miami Aesthetic Center by phone. Inspectors went to the facility after sources tell Local 10 the city received a tip and found the entire facility renovated without permits, fire inspections, or licenses to even operate as a business.

Patients waiting on procedures inside the clinic located at 2001 NW 107th Ave. were ordered to evacuate, some of them in various stages of anesthesia.

Inspectors said the latest discovery followed a pattern of permit violations and ordered the business shut, declaring the building unsafe.

Body-worn camera video showed the attorney representing the clinic Carmen Gallardo days later telling the building official, “We must have more than forty medical offices and this is the first time we have had a problem with this.”

The building official explained, “When you open to the public, their assumption, the common person thinks this is already good to go, that I’m going to be in a safe, sanitary building, etc. And we don’t have that conditions.”

Local 10 learned this was not the only clinic with the same legal representation abruptly shut down by city inspectors. Both Prestige Aesthetic Center and Unique Aesthetics, located on Northwest 12th Street were closed for similar violations.

“I mean, being 2022, people struggle to even open up a diner,” said one patient who asked not to be identified, “Like, they just winged it.”

She told Local 10 News investigative reporter Amy Viteri she was scheduled to fly to Miami in late March for a Mommy Makeover procedure, which involves a tummy tuck, breast lift, and implants at Miami Aesthetic Center. But by then, the clinic was shut down. Despite the abrupt closure she was told she could still get her surgeries but at a different clinic.

Her contact at Miami Aesthetic Center sent her to Adore Plastic Surgery in Miramar where her operation was scheduled with a new doctor, Manny Iyer, whose bio appears on both clinics’ websites.

“It kind of reminds me like just a puppy mill,” she said, “You know, like in the sense that they didn’t want to miss out on money.”

Last-minute e-mails merely provided a street address instructing her where to show up for surgery. But when she arrived she said she had a bad feeling.

“Like the moment I went into that OR room, I felt this dead energy, where I’m like, this does not feel safe,” she said.

Despite the mandated closures, Local 10 has learned the call center for some of these clinics is still booking patients and sending them for procedures at other clinics throughout South Florida, some operating under different names. Call center workers said some of the procedures are taking place at Jolie Plastic Surgery on SW 8th Street, which from the outside appears vacant.

The patient confirmed she went to Jolie for several post-operative visits following her surgery, “But the last time I noticed that the sign of Jolie was taken off.”

“Once the once the Miami Aesthetic Center was shut down, she was sent directly to Jolie plastic surgery for her post-operative care,” explained attorney Andres Beregovich, “So there must have been some type of agreement there, you know, if not the same ownership”

Beregovich said he represents two women who said they had surgery booked through Miami Aesthetic Center and suffered serious complications.

“One of the ladies that I represent, she had told me it looked like nobody was in scrubs,” Beregovich added, “None of the medical personnel were actually dressed to perform this procedure.”

The woman who spoke with Local 10 said she had to go to the emergency room at Broward Health after developing severe infections and sepsis following her surgery.

Documents she signed with Miami Aesthetic Center show her doctor Manny Iyer stating he carried no medical malpractice insurance. However, on his profile on the Florida Department of Health website, Iyer states he does have professional liability coverage of no less than $250,000 per claim.

The woman told Local 10 that she now faces more surgery to fix what wasn’t done correctly the first time.

“I don’t wish that upon anybody else, to have to go through that,” she said, “In reality, you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”

Each of the clinics involved in this story is represented by the same law firm.

Gallardo Law Firm released this statement:

Our firm is currently representing Miami Aesthetic Center (also known as “Mac”), Unique Aesthetic Center and Prestige Aesthetic Center. In order to avoid further inconvenience to the patients, upon closure, the clinics diligently made arrangements that allowed for most of the patients to proceed with their scheduled surgeries or issue refunds in accordance with the patient’s preference and the different company policies followed by each clinic.

Additionally, each company is working with the City of Doral in addressing any pending matters to resume services as soon as possible.


About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.