Miami-Dade Police homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death of a woman who died after having a procedure at a Miami cosmetic surgery clinic.
Responding to a call for medical help, police arrived at MIA Aesthetics, 9300 NW 72nd St., about 11:13 a.m. Friday. Paramedics transported the woman to Baptist Hospital, where she died, said police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta.
The cause of death was unknown, but the family of Danea Plasencia, 28, identified her as the woman who died. They said she underwent a procedure at the clinic on Friday and went into cardiac arrest.
“The Homicide Bureau is investigating,” Zabaleta said in a statement.
NBC 6 identified Plasencia and reported that she died after undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedure, which consists of transferring fat to the patient’s buttocks from elsewhere in the body. On the clinic’s website, such a procedure is advertised with a $3,600 starting price.
Speaking with reporters outside the clinic Friday, Plasencia’s grandfather said Plasencia did not tell many people about her upcoming surgery. Once he found out Friday, he had intended to talk Plasencia out of the procedure but did not know when it would take place.
“I didn’t know anything about it, but yesterday I was supposed to dissuade her from doing it because I hate that surgery,” said Dr. Marcio Ferez, who practices medicine in Hialeah. “But I didn’t know that this was going to be performed today.”
Ferez said his granddaughter was “perfectly healthy.”
“She was not terribly overweight, but in this culture of ours, all the girls want to look very nice,” he said. “In my opinion, they are getting lured to get this type of surgery for $6,000 or more.”
He said many cosmetic surgeons who work in low-cost clinics accept cash payments and don’t work with insurance companies.
“It’s cash,” he said. “There is a lot of money going on. I think it’s got to stop.”
On Sunday, a family member started a GoFundMe page to help support Plasencia’s three children, and to help their father with funeral expenses.
“Our hearts break for those beautiful souls that don’t understand why or how,” Jen Jones wrote.
The goal is $25,000. After two days, 53 people contributed a little over $3,300.
Florida lawmakers earlier this month passed a law designed to tighten the rules under which cosmetic surgery clinics operate.
The bill, which passed unanimously in the House of Representatives after passing the Senate, would require clinics and doctors to demonstrate financial responsibility to pay claims related to medical care and be subject to annual inspections. It authorizes the Department of Health to suspend or revoke the license of any clinic if it violates the bill’s provisions.
Brazilian Butt Lifts, or gluteal fat grafting, have a mortality rate of one in 3,000 procedures, according to an estimate from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which helped form a task force to study the risks involved in such procedures and establish safety guidelines.
The ASPS said the procedure’s mortality rate far surpasses that of any other cosmetic procedure.
“With any cosmetic procedure, patients should seek out board-certified plastic surgeons who have the necessary training to perform these procedures,” Dr. Jeffrey E. Janis, President of ASPS, said in a press release announcing the task force in 2018. “Patient safety is always our top concern, so we encourage all surgeons and potential patients to talk in-depth about the significant risks associated with gluteal fat grafting before considering a BBL.”
In a statement issued Friday, the clinic confirmed a patient died during a surgical procedure and offered “love and support” to the patient’s family.
“Throughout our years of operations and thousands of procedures performed, this is the first and only fatality we have endured,” the clinic wrote in the statement. “Our team is devastated by this tragedy and feels that each and every one of our patients is part of our family. We strive to provide the most advanced plastic surgery treatment for our patients.”
The clinic said its surgeons are “board-certified” or “board-eligible” under the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and that the medical staff constantly reevaluates its practices to ensure the safety of patients.
“Despite these practices, serious surgery comes with the risk of rare, unintended and tragic results,” the clinic wrote. “We are fully dedicated to investigating why today’s tragedy occurred. We will be fully transparent with our patients and with the public as more details emerge.”
Tributes to Plasencia, identified by family as a mother of three children between the ages of 1 and 9 years old, quickly flooded social media. Loved ones offered up prayers and friends sent their condolences to the family.
Ninoska Ferez, who identified himself as Plasencia’s uncle, posted a photo of Plasencia and asked God for strength.
“It is with great pain that we say RIP darling Danea [my niece],” he said in a Facebook post on Friday. “May God give us strength.”