Liposuction docs guilty of misconduct

A Toronto cosmetic surgeon was guilty of professional misconduct in the treatment of several patients, including a woman who died after undergoing liposuction, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has found.

TORONTO — A Toronto cosmetic surgeon was guilty of professional misconduct in the treatment of several patients, including a woman who died after undergoing liposuction, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has found.

In a decision released Wednesday, the college found Dr. Behnaz Yazdanfar incompetent in her care of liposuction patients Krista Stryland, who died after the procedure, and another woman.

Both women underwent the fat-removal operation in 2007.

The college’s discipline committee also found Yazdanfar incompetent in her care of certain liposuction patients in her cosmetic surgery practice from 2005 to 2007, and in the care of two breast augmentation patients in 2007 and 2008.

College spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke was unable to say exactly how many patients were involved, because the full 300-page decision hasn’t been publicly released.

But Yazdanfar had originally been accused of failing to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and incompetence in respect to 28 patients.

Clarke said 68 days of hearings were held in the case, starting in July 2009.

Yazdanfar’s lawyer Clayton Ruby declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Stryland, who was 32, died following a high-volume liposuction at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic in September 2007. Yazdanfar removed 6.6 litres of fat from Stryland, even though Ontario guidelines say five litres is the maximum that can be removed, according to evidence heard at the hearings.

The hearings heard that Stryland was found unresponsive an hour after she was left in a recovery area.

The clinic didn’t call 911 until 40 minutes after she became unstable, according to evidence, and paramedics found Stryland in a pool of blood when they arrived.

During the hearings, Yazdanfar said she would consider changing her practices to please the college.

“I’ll consider smaller repeat procedures,” she said then.

“The higher the volume the higher the risk … if I have to I will follow other guidelines to avoid being attacked.”

According to evidence at the hearings, a 66-year-old woman was bleeding so badly after her surgery that her husband had to cover her bed with garbage bags, and it took her nine months to recover from the operation when the usual recovery time is two weeks.

The college also found that Dr. Bruce Liberman, the anesthesiologist who worked for Yazdanfar at the clinic where Stryland died, committed professional misconduct.

It also said Liberman was incompetent regarding his post-operative care of Stryland.

The College said Liberman engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional conduct in his failure to aggressively treat the patient’s low blood volume and to call 911 when his initial treatment failed.

The committee found Liberman failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession in not charting the vital signs of 55 patients on admission to the recovery room at two clinics.

A call to Liberman’s lawyer was not immediately returned.

The committee will hold separate penalty hearings for the doctors, although dates have not been set, said Clarke.

Those penalties could range from fines and restrictions on licences, to licence suspensions to licence revocation.