Patients suffer disfigurement after botched lipo procedures

Two people are accused of doing liposuction without licenses. How can you tell your doctor is real?

TAMPA, Fla. — A slick website for the Orozco Medical Center advertises everything from facials and chemical peels to more advanced surgical procedures including liposuction.

But Hillsborough County sheriff's Investigators say the woman performing cosmetic surgeries at the center, 44-year-old Claudia Orozco, isn’t qualified.

“Ms. Orozco does not have a doctor’s license,” said Maj. Frank Losat of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.   “She is only licensed in acupuncture and hair removal.”

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The sheriff’s office was first tipped off after complaints from patients to the Department of Health alleging complications and severe injury after liposuction procedures performed at the facility.

“The scarring is tremendous on these victims,” said Losat.  “One has to wear certain garments to keep her body from tingling all the time so she can physically function.”

Orozco and her assistant, 40-year-old Marlon Barcelo, are now both facing charges for practicing without a medical license and aggravated battery with great bodily harm.

Orozco faces an additional charge for organized fraud.

Detectives say they consulted with local physicians to find out the seriousness of the situation. 

“They were floored.  They were appalled, they were disgusted, because these are the type of people who give doctors a bad name,” Losat said of the investigation’s input from medical experts.

“It can be extremely dangerous. It can take your life,” said South Tampa cosmetic surgeon Dr. Joseph Castellano.

Castellano says he's seeing more and more cases of untrained doctors trying to perform procedures like butt injections and liposuction.  He’s not surprised to hear the patients involved in this most recent case were hospitalized after the procedure with severe infections.

“It is a surgical procedure that should be done sterilely and correctly,” said Castellano.  It’s not a minor procedure.

So how do you as the consumer know if the person you’re trusting with your body has the knowledge and training to do the procedure safely?

Castellano suggests checking to see if the facility itself is accredited.

You should also check the individual doctor’s record and ask where did they receive their training?  Do they have a medical license? How many liposuction procedures have they performed?

To check to see if a doctor is licensed in Florida, click here.

You can also search the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery here

Offices are also legally required to display their licenses and certification so patients can see for themselves.

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