Death is just one of the potential side effects.
Add hardened lumps migrating under the skin. Consider inflammation, vomiting, diarrhea, sepsis, staph infections, oozing abscesses, amputations, loss of control of basic bodily functions, horrible chronic pain, coma.
And then there’s grotesque disfigurement — such an unkind irony given that all these miseries were risked in pursuit of… of… I don’t know. Beauty? Sexiness. Youthfulness. Round buttocks. Full lips.
Criminals pump their patients with counterfeit Botox or industrial-grade silicone or sometimes off-the-shelf chemical compounds. Oneal Ron Morris injected the face and buttocks of his South Florida customers with mineral oil and the same chemical compound found in tire repair products like Fix-A-Flat, then dressed the wound with cotton and Super Glue. It hardly seems surprising that two of Morris’ patients later died of what the Broward County medical examiner described as “massive systemic silicone migration.”
Just to look voluptuous.
These are awful crimes. And the criminals who administer these crude procedures kill and maim for profit. But what to think about the victims, who submit willingly to this insane quackery, paying for procedures by questionable characters in questionable places? All in a region where the media has made much of the crippling and deadly outcomes.
All for vanity. That people continue to pay considerable sums for illegal and dangerous cosmetic surgeries remains one of South Florida’s enduring conundrums.
A dozen years ago, a 53-year-old Miami secretary named Vera Lawrence died in an unremarkable Miramar apartment that no sane person could mistake for a doctor’s office. She had been attending the silicone equivalent of a Tupperware party and died with 36 fresh needle punctures on her hips and a silicone embolism in one lung. But she had to sense the risk.
“You would think that with all the publicity and the warnings about the dangers of silicone injections, that it would raise a red flag,” said Enrique Torres, chief investigator for the Florida Department of Health’s unlicensed activity office, told me after Vera Lawrence’s death. “But what I’m finding is quite the opposite. It still goes on. More than ever.”
And it still goes on. More than ever.
Just last week, El Nuevo Herald reporter Maria Perez reported that Miami radio personality Betty Pino died after surgery to repair escalating complications from silicone injections that had become hardened, painful deformities beneath her skin. The surgeon and county medical examiner’s office don’t agree on why she lapsed into a coma after the June operation and never regained consciousness. But the undisputed reason Pino was on the operating table was to get rid of the vile silicone mess some unknown hack had injected into her four years earlier.
In June, a 59-year-old fake nurse named Sheri Goldman, already on probation for peddling Botox injections out of a Boca Raton beauty shop, was busted after investigators noticed that she was running a $159 Groupon special. What were her bargain-hunting patients thinking?
In April, Suyima Torres, 28, a pretty mother of two, was lured into a so-called clinic in a West Flagler Street shopping plaza for a $1,500 buttock enhancement, administered by someone who described himself as a Venezuelan doctor. He gave her two injections, 10 days apart, with an oily yellow substance. A few hours after the second injection, she was dead with a lung embolism. It turned out that the clinic was licensed as a massage parlor. The supposed “doctor” quickly disappeared.