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Doctor Charged after Giving Liposuction to Transplant Recipient

Written by Berkowitz

A Manhattan doctor was charged with manslaughter and falsification of records after a liposuction patient went into cardiac arrest in his office where he performed the procedure using a local anesthetic. The patient was then rushed to Coney Island Hospital where she died May 10, 2012, reports The New York Times.

The doctor, Oleg Davie, was arraigned March 28, 2013, on the charges. Isel Pineda, 51, the liposuction patient, had had a heart transplant eight years earlier and had been on immunosuppressant drugs ever since, facts she had written on forms for the doctor before her liposuction surgery.

“Doctors are well aware of the fact that they are discouraged from performing liposuction and similar procedures on patients with heart disease,” said Brooklyn district attorney Charles J. Hynes. He said that immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of the transplanted heart would make Pineda a higher risk patient for infection.

According to reports, the doctor tried to cover up Pineda’s medical history by changing the information she had written on the forms. He had removed any mention of her heart disease, the heart transplant and the anti-rejection drugs she was taking. The original forms she had filled out listing her correct medical history were found in her purse.

Two expert witnesses for the defense produced reports indicating that Pineda’s death was due to “fat embolism syndrome.” This would put the patient at risk for liposuction and her death would have nothing to do with her medical history, their reports said. The report of one expert witness said Pineda’s transplanted heart was enlarged and 95 percent blocked as a result of arteriosclerosis.

Davie’s defense lawyer called her a “walking time bomb.” The lawyer said, “her death is tragic, but it’s not criminal.”

A lawyer for the victim’s family said that no reliable physician would do a procedure like liposuction on a heart transplant patient in his office. He also said Dr. Davie would not be able to deal with a complication known as “fat embolism syndrome.”

In 2011, Davie’s state medical license was limited to doing cosmetic procedures due to findings of prior negligence regarding seven patients. He also had been fined $100,000 and put on probation by the New York state health department.

After Pineda died, Davie’s medical license was suspended. He pleaded not guilty to the current charges and was released on $175,000 bail.

The victim had found the doctor through an advertisement, offering his services at a lower cost.

As Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers, the attorneys at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC represent patients who suffer complications due to medical negligence. If you or someone you love is seriously injured, or if your loved one died, during a medical or cosmetic procedure, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

To learn more, contact our medical malpractice lawyers today.

NOTE: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC is not representing the people in this story. This is a news report that was first reported by The New York Times.