44-year-old Oskatukei “Osak” Omulepu has been ordered by a Florida court to stop performing plastic surgery following a procedure which led to the death of an Illinois woman. He must have a board certified physician present for any other medical procedures performed until the court rules on the state’s efforts to stop the doctor from practicing. Lattia Baumeister, a 30-year-old patient of Omulepu’s died on June 1st of fat clots found in her lungs from liposuction and fat transfer surgery. The patient suddenly stopped breathing in the middle of the liposuction procedure. Paramedics arrived at the scene to find Omulepu performing CPR on Baumeister, who had traveled approximately 150 miles to his South Florida office. She was immediately taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center, but medical personnel could not revive her.
This is not the first time Omulepu had botched the surgeries of his patients or endangered their lives. The incident actually marks the third time since February of last year that Florida officials have attempted to stop Omulepu from performing liposuction surgery and fat transfer procedures, including “Brazilian butt lifts”, a self-proclaimed specialty of his. During a liposuction procedure, doctors use a rod to remove fat, plunging the rod in and out of a patient’s body. Omulepu perforated the organs of two patients with the rod a on the same day in May 2015, and he caused serious infections to two additional patients also while performing liposuction. Then, another patient, Rosemary Diaz of Miami, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging Omulepu permanently disfigured her during two cosmetic surgeries, a breast augmentation and a revision, in 2015. Diaz claimed she began vomiting blood and feeling intense pain following the first procedure. She also noticed bleeding and said her breasts began to spread outward. Omulepu performed a second surgery on Diaz about four months later, according to the filing, but her condition did not improve.
Omulepu’s attorney, Monica Rodriquez, states her client is absolutely devastated by Baumeister’s death and he has offered to work under a board certified plastic surgeon’s supervision following the tragedy now that he is temporarily operating under a limited license. “This is the first patient death he has had,” Rodriguez stated. “Although what happened has been widely documented as a complication of the procedure the patient underwent, it is not a situation any surgeon wants to have.”
However, not everyone believes the court should be so accommodating. Palm Beach dermatologist Steven Rosenberg said he is extremely frustrated with delays in revoking Omulepu’s license. “We revoke a doctor’s license and the judges override it,” Rosenberg said. “We spend so much time preparing for these cases, listening to them. We’re doing a service to try and protect the public and then a judge basically allows the physician to continue to practice.” Omulepu’s medical license on file with the Florida health department is currently listed as “clear/active”. Rosenberg explains further, “There is no basis for finding that he is unsafe to continue to perform liposuction pending the appeal when he has been practicing and doing this procedure for many months since these injuries occurred without having these complications recur. Everybody on the board finds this particularly frustrating.”