10 News Investigators: Patients accuse doc of bad liposuction

9:18 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- A 10 News investigation has exposed a liposuction doctor who some of patients say scarred them for life. Dr. Yves Jean-Baptiste's patients want to know why the Florida Department of Health hasn't stopped him from practicing.

The women who came forward to 10 News asked that we keep their identities hidden.

"Had I not gone to the hospital when I did, I could have died," said the first woman we called "Charisse." She is talking about what happened after she had liposuction at JYB Medical and Weight Clinics of Busch Blvd. in Tampa. Within hours of having a procedure at the clinic, she developed blisters and an infection.

"I had leakage coming out onto my clothing and different things of that nature. So what they did was they started cutting the tissue, so they took very small wounds and they basically became the size of my hand. They said they had to cut out the bad tissue to get to the infection, and at the end of the day... very bad scars. When people see them, even people within my family, it's just not a pretty sight."

Charisse's infection didn't heal, and although she claimed the clinic told her she didn't need to go to her primary care physician, she did anyway, and they sent her immediately to St. Joseph's Hospital.

"I'm an educated person, and for me to allow or listen to a doctor say everything is OK and gone back because he was a board certified doctor, I thought everything was OK," said Charisse, fighting back tears.

The doctor who did the liposuction, Dr. Yves Jean-Baptiste, is a board certified general practitioner, but not board certified in plastic surgery. And that's not all. Attorney Dale Appell alleges in a lawsuit that physician Jean-Baptiste was negligent in the procedure by failing to properly evaluate Charisse. The lawsuit also alleges the doctor took out an unreasonable amount of fat tissue, inappropriately allowed his assistants -- who were not physicians -- to perform certain portions of the surgery, failed to give antibiotics during the procedure, and then intentionally destroyed her medical records in violation of state law.

"He voluntarily gave up his license in New York because of something that had to do with an infection," said Appell. 

That isn't the first time there has been a problem with this doctor. According to a Florida Department of Health administrative complaint filed in 2009, Doctor Jean-Baptiste did liposuction on another patient and allowed his assistants to do part of the procedure, failed to record appropriate history of the patient, didn't keep adequate records, and was accused of medical malpractice. His license was suspended for a year, and he is currently on probation and not allowed to do cosmetic surgery.

All of this makes attorney Appell concerned about people going to Doctor Jean-Baptiste's clinic to get liposuction. "It makes me think this is a man who should not be in the community and continue to be able to harm people, and that his license should be taken away."

A second woman we talked to who, we'll call "Stephanie" went to Lakeland Regional Hospital and said Doctor Jean-Baptiste did her liposuction. "I got an infection in the incisions from the liposuction. I went two times for surgery because he couldn't do all of it in one day. The first day, him and another doctor did it together, and the second time I came back he did it by himself," she said.

Doctor Jean-Baptiste claims it was another physician at his clinic, but Stephanie says he was sure it was him.

Doctor Jean-Baptiste's attorney says another physician is now doing lipo at the office, and the doctor himself said by phone no one is performing the procedure at his office. But when 10 News had a staffer call about an appointment, we got another story. The receptionist suggested our staffer come in for an appointment after she asked specifically for liposuction with Dr. Jean-Baptiste.

Appell doesn't understand why Jean-Baptiste still has a license. "When you see that bad apple and you have the proof and the evidence, and you see the pictures and you're told the story, somebody should sit up and say 'That's a bad apple doctor' and we need to accelerate the process so he doesn't hurt anybody else in the public."

Although Dr. Jean-Baptiste did not contest the charge of being disciplined by the Florida State Board of Medicine, his response to the lawsuit alleging malpractice is that neither he or his corporation were negligent in treating patients.

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