Thursday, December 3, 2009
7 News Investigations: Injecting Trouble
Seems like everyone is looking for a quick fix for a better body. Shots, creams, Lasers, you name it. There's something out there for almost every problem, but some women in South Florida are risking their lives on illegal cosmetic injections in hopes of boosting their breasts, bottoms and thighs. 7s Lynn Martinez has tonight's special assignment report, Injecting Trouble.
WSVN-- Best friends Andrea Lee and Zakiya Teagle wanted more curves and fuller figures
Zakiya Teagle: "I was looking to enhance my thigh and my rear area."
Surgery was too expensive, but a woman they knew offered to inject them with a solution that would instantly plump up their thighs and backside, and the price was right. It seemed like the perfect beauty bargain.
Andrea Lee: "It seemed to be the easiest way and less painful."
Zakiya Teagle: "We actually saw people she had done, they looked great."
The woman came to their home, mixed up a concoction and went to work, but within hours of getting the injections something went horribly wrong.
Zakiya Teagle: "My legs started to cramp and my mouth started to get dry."
Andrea Lee: "All I remember is hitting the floor and just blacking out."
Both women were rushed to the hospital and were left clinging to life for almost a month.
Andrea Lee: "All of my organs had failed. Just completely shut down."
Zakiya Teagle: "They basically told my mother to make funeral arrangements for me."
Turns out, they were injected with bootleg silicone.
Dr. Leonard Tachmes: "It's a liquid silicone derivative product that's manufactured out of the U.S. There are issues of sterility, an issue of whether the product is contaminated or not. There's no way of knowing."
Liquid silicone that is injected directly into the body is not FDA approved for any cosmetic purpose because it can be deadly.
Dr. Leonard Tachmes: "I warn patients not to do it at all. It is dangerous. It can be life-threatening. There's been cases of that reported."
In 200, Vera Lawrence of Miramar died after receiving silicone injections in her butt and thighs at what's called a "pumping party."
The party host, Donnie Hendrix was arrested in connection with her death. Donnie was convicted of practicing medicine without a license and sent to prison.
Tangela Sears: ""She was killed by people posing as doctors."
It's a frightening trend that's caught the attention of the FDA.
Dan Schultz: "The idea that people are getting materials that have not gone through appropriate FDA review and we don't even really know exactly what they are getting is of great concern to us."
An undercover detective of the Miami-Dade Police Medical Crimes Unit, who has to remain anonymous says bootleg silicone keeps them very busy.
Undercover detective, MDPD: "We've arrested 66 unlicensed practitioners this year and yes, we think it is a big number for Miami Dade County."
This woman who asked that we hide her identity, was recently injected with silicone in her thighs and butt at a "pumping party."
VICTIM: "Someone comes from out of town and they get up a group of people who wanted this procedure done."
At first, she got the results she wanted, but soon, the silicone started to move.
VICTIM: "I started seeing discoloration in my skin. It started burning and itching, constant pain."
Doctor Leonard Tachmes says he sees several patients a week who are now disfigured, but there's usually nothing he can do to help.
Dr. Leonard Tachmes: "You can't go back to your doctor and say, 'I want it out.' You can't get it out. Once it's in there, it's in there for life and you cause significant damage to the surrounding tissue."
Andrea and Zakiya are doing better now, but they have a message for other women.
Andrea Lee: "I'm sitting here as a prime example, don't get it done."
Zakiya Teagle: "God spared our life, but he may not spare yours."
Beauty is not worth dying for.
Lynn Martinez: "The woman who injected Andrea and Zakiya was not a doctor. She was arrested and pled guilty to practicing medicine without a license."