Fly-in fa­tal at­trac­tion

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - REGINA TITELIUS

FOR­EIGN­ERS are fly­ing into WA to per­form cheap and dan­ger­ous cos­metic pro­ce­dures, feed­ing a black-mar­ket in­dus­try which lo­cal doc­tors say is “out of con­trol”.

Doc­tors are con­cerned a death in WA from a botched pro­ce­dure is “only a mat­ter of time”, af­ter the death of a 35year-old beauty sa­lon owner in Syd­ney a fort­night ago.

The woman al­legedly re­ceived a lethal dose of anaes­thetic dur­ing an at­tempt to in­ject filler into her breasts.

Pa­tients are risk­ing death from ana­phy­lac­tic shock caused by lo­cal anaes­thetic as well as a plethora of in­juries from poorly ad­min­is­tered fillers and laser treat­ments, such as dis­fig­ure­ment, burns, in­fec­tions, skin death and blind­ness.

“What hap­pened in Syd­ney can hap­pen any­where. These back­yard jobs are a huge prob­lem in WA,” Aus­tralasian Col­lege of Cos­metic Surgery med­i­cal fel­low Dr Glenn Mur­ray said.

Dr Mur­ray said doc­tors with no Aus­tralian reg­is­tra­tion and “non-doc­tors” who prac­tised in non-med­i­cal fields are fly­ing into the State from Asia, East­ern Europe, Pak­istan and the Mid­dle East to work il­le­gally at beauty and cos­metic clin­ics.

“It’s out of con­trol, it’s worse than you think, par­tic­u­larly with the cheap air­fares you can get,” said the doc­tor who owns Ab­so­lute Cos­met­ics Medicine Ned­lands.

Dr Mur­ray said in ad­di­tion to fly-in op­er­a­tors, there were WA res­i­dent “rogue” nurses and prac­ti­tion­ers such as acupunc­tur­ists who could get hold of do­mes­tic and over­seas cos­metic med­i­cal sup­plies, such as fillers and bo­tox, to per­form dan­ger­ous home jobs.

“A lot of beau­ti­cians are very good and well trained but then you’ve got others who are rogue, they’re in it for a quick buck,” he said.

“They let these peo­ple come and work out of their sa­lons and they don’t check their reg­is­tra­tion, their in­sur­ance or their ex­pe­ri­ence.”

He said 10 per cent of his busi­ness was “re­pair” work of botched jobs done in WA and over­seas. Cos­metic Physi­cians Col­lege of Aus­trala­sia’s WA spokes­woman Dr Ke­tu­rah Hoff­man said rogue prac­ti­tion­ers were tak­ing ad­van­tage of gaps in reg­u­la­tions within the cos­met­ics in­dus­try.

Dr Hoff­man said the gaps ex­isted between the Med­i­cal Board of Aus­tralia which reg­u­lated doc­tors, the Ther­a­peu­tic Goods Ad­min­is­tra­tion which was re­spon­si­ble for cer­tain prod­ucts, and the WA Health De­part­ment which po­liced reg­u­la­tions.

“If they would ap­ply the leg­is­la­tion that’s in place we’d be bet­ter off but they don’t in­spect, they don’t check — they’re just com­plaints driven. I guess that’s about lack of time and re­sources,” she said.

Dr Hoff­man said re­strict­ing cos­metic pro­ce­dures to doc­tors, or en­sur­ing they were un­der a doc­tor’s su­per­vi­sion, would im­prove ac­count­abil­ity.

Dr Mur­ray said en­sur­ing only doc­tors per­formed or over­saw pro­ce­dures would place the cos­met­ics in­dus­try un­der a watch­ful eye.

He said au­thor­i­ties needed to treat risks more se­ri­ously.

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