The terrible news of the beauty salon owner who went into cardiac arrest after an overdose of anaesthesia and painkillers was administered intravenously while undergoing a procedure to augment her breasts with fillers last week highlights the importance of choosing a fully qualified and experienced practitioner. Jean Huang, director of The Medi Beauty Clinic in Chippendale, Sydney died over the weekend and a 33 year old Chinese woman is charged with reckless grievous bodily harm and using poison to endanger life and this is expected to elevate to more serious charges.
The accused is said to have claimed to be a Chinese doctor and administered a cocktail of drugs through a catheter and drip. When Ms Huang went into cardiac arrest CPR was attempted by the accused and then paramedics but to no avail. Ms Huang was revived at the RPA Hospital however she later died.
The accused has admitted to not being a licensed medical practitioner and was in Australia on a tourist visa. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon situation all over the country. The booming cosmetic industry has led to a huge number of practitioners practicing without the relevant or necessary experience or qualifications required to be performing such procedures and treatments. There are clinics operating without any qualified practitioners, let alone a doctor to supervise all treatments.
Dr Danae Lim, one of the founders of the Australasian College of Asian Aesthetics, says whilst the phenomenon is prevalent in Australia as a whole, it is especially rampant in the Australian Chinese community especially for those who prefer to visit establishments where customer service is available in their native language. She says, “Unsuspecting consumers are convinced that such medical treatments are either performed by qualified personnel, or are minor enough to neglect safety in favour of pricing. These businesses rely on strong Chinese social media marketing, which is quite isolated from the mainstream Australian population and therefore extremely hard to police. Qualifications, infection control and the capacity to deal with medical emergencies are non-existent.
Strong-armed by aggressive sales with no medical qualifications and lured by the promise of everlasting beauty, many fall into the trap of receiving treatments which yield little to no result in the best case scenarios, while ending up with cosmetically disfiguring conditions or worse, life-long disability, even death.”
Whilst it may be rampant in the Australian Chinese community we urge you to remain aware that this is a problem in the Australian community as a whole. There are horror stories from patients with all backgrounds and ages.
One of the reasons why Plastic Surgery Hub came into existence is because we understand and advocate for the need for research and independent information being available on plastic surgeons and non surgical practitioners. The aesthetics industry in Australia is still catching up with itself when it comes to monitoring and ensuring the safety of patients and it’s essential that patients understand how important it is to do their research and not just take a practitioner or clinic at face value. Search the internet, speak to previous patients, check out the practitioner’s credentials, make sure they’re fully trained, qualified and experienced in the procedures or treatments they are performing.
Dr Lim expands, “It is actually not the lack of regulation of the cosmetic medicine industry, but the lack of enforcement due to jurisdiction limitations. Legitimate providers will always comply with regulations, going above and beyond to make sure patients are safe. AHPRA can only regulate medical practitioners and lack jurisdiction over non-medical personnel. Only when a criminal offence is committed does the police step in, by which time it is already too late. The illegal sale of restricted medications over the internet has been unbridled for some time, not to mention blatant advertising of overseas doctors as qualified medical specialists performing procedures in many beauty establishments, but is extremely difficult to investigate and police.”
The death of Ms Jean Huang is a terrible tragedy but perhaps a wake up call for the industry and the general public as a whole.
If you’d like to check out our list of fully qualified and experienced practitioners listed on our website click here. If you’d like to contact Dr Danae Lim at the HD Cosmetic Clinic phone (02) 8095 9577 or you can read more about her and her clinic in the blogs below:
Dr Danae Lim – Thinking Outside the Box
My interview with Danae at the Non-surgical symposium 2017