Health Care

Doctor accused of botching plastic surgery had dubious credentials on website bio

Dr. Harry Instiful practices at New Life Plastic Surgery at 8400 SW Eighth St. in Miami. Here, a sign outside the clinic advertises a popular surgical procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift at a financed price of $30 a week.
Dr. Harry Instiful practices at New Life Plastic Surgery at 8400 SW Eighth St. in Miami. Here, a sign outside the clinic advertises a popular surgical procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift at a financed price of $30 a week. Miami Herald

Before Dawn Bumphus ended up in a South Florida hospital clinging to life following a “Brazilian buttlift” procedure, she had chosen her Miami surgeon with care, picking a doctor whose website biography noted several impressive-sounding qualifications.

Dr. Harry Intsiful, known as “Dr. Slimthick” on Instagram, was listed on the website for New Life Plastic Surgery as the chief of plastic surgery at Coral Gables Hospital, the first-ever fellow in aesthetic and breast reconstruction surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and an assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Rose Bumphus, Dawn’s mother, said her daughter — a 35-year-old single mother of three children and a bus driver in Louisville, KY. — researched Intsiful for more than a year online as she considered the dangerous but popular cosmetic surgery that’s often performed in South Florida.

She couldn’t find any red flags.

“She had confidence in him,” Rose Bumphus said, “that it was going to be all right.”

But the doctor’s qualifications on the clinic’s website weren’t true, according to officials at those institutions.

And now, with Dawn Bumphus in critical condition about a month after her procedure with Intsiful, her mother is wondering how the surgery that was supposed to change her daughter’s life could end up threatening it.

In a Brazilian butt lift surgery, fat is removed from the abdomen and back using liposuction. The fat is then treated and grafted to the buttocks by injection. A woman died last year after having the surgery performed at the New Life clinic by a different doctor there. In Bumphus’ case, her mother said her intestines were punctured in eight different places during the surgery, leading to additional emergency surgeries and a life-threatening infection.

Intsiful couldn’t be reached for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him through the New Life Plastic Surgery clinic and his personal cell phone.

But after the Miami Herald attempted to verify the details of Intsiful’s biography, several of the credentials listed on his New Life Plastic Surgery page were removed.

DrHarry.jpg

The claim that he was chief of plastic surgery at Coral Gables Hospital was dropped from the website after a reporter called the hospital to ask about it. A hospital spokeswoman said the position doesn’t exist. She said Intsiful does have privileges there, which means he can perform surgeries at Coral Gables Hospital.

The clinic website also dropped a description of Intsiful as an assistant professor of surgery at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which is run by the federal government.

Sharon K. Holland, deputy vice president for external affairs at the university, said she could find no records of Intsiful ever being employed there.

“I have spoken with our surgery department emeritus chair... our current chair, the current chair’s assistant who spoke with our Civilian Human Resources department that keeps records on all of our past and present faculty members, and NONE of them know this doctor,” Holland wrote in an email to the Herald.

Other language on the clinic website describing Intsiful as “the first-ever fellow in aesthetic and breast reconstruction surgery” at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago also wasn’t true, according to Burt Korman, a fellowship coordinator there.

He said Intsiful never held such a position, nor he could he find any evidence that Intsiful had ever worked at the hospital in any capacity.

“We can’t find any records on this man,” Korman told the Herald.

And a fourth credential, that Intsiful completed “four years of plastic surgery training at the University of Missouri-Columbia” was also undercut by communications officials from the University of Missouri-Columbia, who said they could locate no records of Intsiful attending the university as a student or in a post-graduate capacity.

The descriptions of the fellowship and the plastic surgery training were removed from the New Life Plastic Surgery website sometime after the first round of edits.

Intsiful, who was formerly employed in New York but licensed as a medical doctor in Florida in January last year, has a healthy following on social media with nearly 27,000 Instagram followers.

His nickname on that platform, “Dr. Slimthick,” is a term used to describe women with slim waists and curvy buttocks. The “Dr. Slimthick” account on Instagram is frequently updated with images marketing the successful results of cosmetic surgeries, and it directs followers to the New Life clinic’s website.

And on realself.com, a popular destination for people seeking plastic surgeons, Intsiful has 66 reviews and a 4.7-out-of-5-star rating. On that website, users recently discussed the news of Bumphus’ hospitalization, which was first reported by NBC6 South Florida, with at least one patient wondering if she should continue planning to have “Dr. Harry” perform her surgery.

Rose Bumphus, Dawn’s mother, said she drove down to the Miami area to visit Dawn in the hospital, but had to return to help take care of her daughter’s children. She added that her daughter is still too weak to be fully awakened and remains heavily sedated.

“We’re just going day by day right now, and I’m trying to get back to her,” Rose Bumphus said. “I’m trying to get back to her, because I need to be by my baby. I can’t sleep because I know that she’s by herself, and she needs to know I’m there and I love her.”

Rose Bumphus said that Dawn’s procedure at the New Life clinic was performed on July 23 and that she has been in the hospital since July 25.

In Dawn’s online research, Rose Bumphus said, testimonials from other women and Intsiful’s listed credentials had an influence on her daughter’s decision to come to Miami to have the procedure. Rose Bumphus said she did not know what her daughter paid for the procedure, but prices for cosmetic surgeries at standalone clinics such as New Life are typically lower in South Florida than in other parts of the country.

Since her daughter’s hospitalization became public, Rose Bumphus said other women have reached out to her with less than rosy stories of their plastic surgery experiences.

“It disturbs me because all these young ladies made it home but their bodies are mutilated,” Bumphus said. “This center needs to be closed down because they’re hurting young women ... I don’t want to see what happened to my child happen to anyone else.”

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