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March 5, 2010 - Doctor in Fatal Liposuction Still Doing Cosmetic Procedures

The doctor who performed a type of liposuction procedure that led to the death of a Miramar, Florida, nurse last fall is still practicing cosmetic medicine, and should be stopped as soon as possible, her husband said Wednesday.

Joe Orukotan and his attorneys said they were shocked to learn this week that Dr. Omar Brito is working at a Pembroke Pines medical spa that offers liposuctions of the same kind that led to the death of his wife, Rohie Kah-Orukotan, in October. They asked for a swift end to state and police investigations into her death.

"To the officials, I'm not blaming you but please rush this thing as fast as possible," Orukotan said at a news conference. "I expected him to be in jail by now. . . . I know the law takes time."

The death is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Broward Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Health is reviewing whether to take disciplinary action against Brito's medical license.

Both cases hinge on autopsy findings by the Broward County Medical Examiner's office, which is still preparing its report, said the family's attorney, Anthony Russo.

The family contends Brito caused the death by administering excessive amounts of anesthetics propofol and lidocaine during the procedure, and that the facility, now-closed Weston Medspa, was not equipped to legally perform procedures using full anesthesia.

Brito's attorney said the doctor has a clear and active medical license and is fully within his rights to continue practicing medicine while the death is under review. He asserted that Brito did nothing wrong and that the death stemmed from an unforeseen reaction to anesthesia that was no one's fault. He said the family's comments aimed to pressure a settlement before a lawsuit is filed.

Brito is not performing liposuctions at the Pembroke Pines medspa, MG Medical and Aesthetics Facility, where he has worked as a part-time contractor for five years, the doctor's attorney said.

"The reason is simply by his personal choice," he said. "He is doing minor cosmetic procedures."

A spokeswoman at MG Medical declined to comment immediately.

Russo said the medical examiner, police and state health officials were apparently working together on the investigation of the death. He said the length of time for this investigation was not unusual.

The state has the power to suspend a doctor's license on an emergency basis, but has not done so in Brito's case because some facts are still in dispute, said Eulinda Smith, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health.

"The surgeon general needs to find an immediate serious danger to the public health and have all the details up front. We need to be sure about everything," Smith said. "We're moving along on it."

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