Medical examiner finds that woman suffered accidental death during cosmetic procedure

Heather Meadows suffers complications during liposuction, buttocks augmentation

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Layron Livingston - Reporter

HIALEAH, Fla. - A medical examiner conducted an autopsy Friday on a woman who suffered fatal complications during a cosmetic procedure in Hialeah, Hialeah police Sgt. Carl Zogby said.

According to Zogby, the autopsy report is expected to be released in the near future. However, the medical examiner has informed authorities that the findings point toward an accidental death during a medical procedure.

The Florida Department of Health also is conducting a standard collateral investigation into the woman's death, Zogby said.

Zogby said detectives are relying on the Department of Health to verify that the medical facility has proper state licensing and compliance for its facility and medical staff.

Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri confirmed to Local 10 News that Encore Plastic Surgery has a "clear/active license with no public complaints or discipline on file."

However, records show that the Department of Health issued an emergency restriction on the medical license of a doctor affiliated with the clinic, Dr. Osakatukei Omulepu, earlier this year.

The order was issued Feb. 17 in connection with the May 15, 2015 liposuction of a 31-year-old woman, whose fat was also transferred to her buttocks.

In that case, the woman called the clinic the day after her procedure to say that she was experiencing significant pain, the order said.

According to the order, the woman was told that she was dehydrated and she was given additional pain medication.

The woman was later taken to Westchester General Hospital in Miami, where she was diagnosed with severe anemia secondary to blood loss during the liposuction procedure. Doctors also found that she had several perforations of her liver causing severe sepsis.

Two other employees affiliated with Encore Plastic Surgery, which was formerly known as Vanity Cosmetic Surgery and IQuest Surgery Center, Orlando Llorente and James McAdoo have "clear/active licenses with no public complaints or discipline on file," Gambineri said.

In Thursday's incident, Zogby said Heather Meadows, 29, was taken to the emergency room at Palm Springs General Hospital after she suffered complications from the cosmetic procedure.

Meadows, who was visiting from West Virginia, underwent liposuction and a buttocks augmentation at the cosmetic surgery center, her family told Local 10 News.

Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston was at the medical facility Friday morning and saw several patients going in and out of the building, including one who showed up early to cancel her surgery and demand her money back.

"I'm not having surgery here. You kidding me? It's a chop shop," Antoinette told Livingston.

Antoinette, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, said she came to Hialeah from New York City's Brooklyn borough and paid $4,000 to have a Brazilian butt lift.

"I can't thank you enough, because if I didn't have the news on, I would have never known," Antoinette said. "They were calling me this morning to come in earlier to have surgery when they knew this happened."

"The cheap comes out expensive, so when you try to save a couple of dollars, this is what happens," she continued. "I feel sorry for the girl and her family, but it just made me know that I'm not going in there to have surgery."

Family members told Local 10 News that Meadows traveled to Hialeah with a friend and was healthy.

"She was in excellent health," her cousin, Brandon Pennington, said. "Excellent."

Antoinette said she called a relative who was also scheduled to have surgery Friday to make sure she cancels the procedure. All patients who requested refunds were told to visit another clinic run by the same owners, Vanity Cosmetic Surgery, to receive their money back.

Livingston spoke to Meadows' mother, who said she and other family members are on their way to South Florida to identify her daughter's body.

Encore Plastic Surgery has not returned Local 10 News' request for comment.

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