Almost a year after a West Virgina woman died after a botched “Brazilian butt lift” surgery at a Hialeah, Florida, clinic, police say another woman died Thursday night at the same cosmetic surgery center, which changed its name after last year’s death.
Her death is the second this month at a Miami area plastic surgery clinic.
Hialeah police, along with the Florida Department of Health and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, are investigating the death of Ranika Hall, 25, who came from Kansas City, Missouri, to have a “Brazilian butt lift” performed at Eres Plastic Surgery, 1738 W. 49th St., formerly known as Encore Plastic Surgery.
Hall’s death is the fourth death since 2013 — two last year alone — at a network of clinics connected to a Miami physician, Ismael Labrador, and his ex-wife, Aimee De la Rosa. The storefront clinics have operated under the names of Vanity Cosmetic Surgery and Encore Plastic Surgery, luring mainly out-of-town women with websites that promise cheap plastic surgery and amazing results.
A woman who answered the phone at Eres on Friday night directed a reporter to email Jesus Nova with Gallardo Lawyers. The Herald sent an email but did not hear back from Novo.
Late Friday night the clinic released a statement.
“Dr. Daniel Calva and Eres Plastic Surgery express their deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of our patient whom had recently undergone a cosmetic procedure at our center on Thursday evening. Dr. Daniel Calva and Eres Plastic Surgery are deeply saddened by what has occurred and offer their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the statement reads. “Dr. Calva is a highly skilled and caring surgeon that is dedicated to providing the highest level of care to his patients. The cause of death has not yet been determined until a medical forensic examiner has completed an examination.”
Last May, Heather Meadows, a 29-year-old mother of two from West Virginia, died after complications arose from her “Brazilian butt lift” surgery at Encore. Last September, Maria Christian, a 32-year-old woman from Ecuador with two children, died after her heart stopped during a tummy tuck performed at Vanity, 8504 SW Eighth St. A third woman, Maribel Cardona, 51, died from a lung embolism after she underwent surgery at Vanity in July 2013.
In addition to the deaths, several other patients have been rushed to local hospitals after major injuries, including perforated intestines and livers, following cosmetic procedures at these clinics.
In Hall’s case, Hialeah Fire Rescue workers were called to the clinic at about 9 p.m. Thursday after they received a call that Hall, who was having a “Brazilian butt lift,’’ was unconscious and had stopped breathing, Hialeah police say. She was transported to Larkin Hospital in Hialeah and died about an hour later.
Hall's mother, Nicole, created a GoFundMe page to pay for Hall's funeral services. In the description, she says Hall had a 1-year-old daughter.
“My baby left Wednesday, 3/15/17, perfectly fine and healthy which was the last time I talked to her and seen her,” Hall wrote in the post. The page had received more than $700 in donations by Friday night.
In November, Labrador and De La Rosa agreed to refund more than $200,000 in deposits to customers as part of an agreement with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office agreed to drop an investigation into the clinics, which also included Broward Cosmetic Surgery in Plantation and Cosmetics Miami in Hialeah. Prior to signing the agreement with the state, Labrador and De la Rosa filed notices of dissolution for the clinics with the Florida Division of Corporations in September, according to public records.
A spokeswoman for Vanity said at the time that the clinics were “rebranding’’ as Eres Plastic Surgery, which incorporated with the state in August.
The Florida Department of Health had inspected Encore in January 2016 and found several failures, including poor record-keeping and the use of ineffective equipment in the months before Meadows died. In one case, the report found, the anesthesia consent had “multiple cross outs and write overs. No way to know if patient signed before or after modifications performed by staff.’’
The inspection report also cited three surgeons at Encore — Orlando Llorente, James McAdoo and Osakatukei “Osak” Omulepu — who placed Encore patients under general anesthesia, which is generally regarded as more dangerous than operating with a local anesthetic. The report also noted that the surgeons allowed assistants to document pre-operative medical screenings, which were then signed by the physicians with no indication that the doctors had performed the tests.
About two weeks ago, on March 6, an Antiguan woman, 32-year-old Nikisha Lewis, died after undergoing a liposuction procedure at Spectrum Aesthetics, 51 SW 42nd Ave., according to an NBC 6 report. Last February, the Florida Department of Health issued an emergency order restricting Omulepu from performing liposuction and fat transfers to the buttocks after botching four cosmetic surgeries in two days at Spectrum and Vanity.