OFFICERS from the Ministry of Health have visited Sydney’s The Cosmetic Institute after a second incident in which a woman suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing a standard breast augmentation procedure.
Representatives from the Private Health Care Unit yesterday inspected the company’s Bondi Junction clinic after the 22-year-old was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital suffering “adverse effects” at lunchtime on Wednesday.
The Victorian woman was admitted to intensive care but has since been released into the hospital wards, where she is in a stable condition.
It follows a similar incident at the chain’s Parramatta clinic in January when 21-year-old Amy Rickhuss also suffered a cardiac arrest during a similar procedure.
The use of anaesthetics was reportedly a factor in both instances, which are now being investigated by the Health Care Complaints Commission.
Earlier this year the company was at the centre of allegations it had been using “deep sedation” practices while not being properly licensed to do so.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said a formal notice had been issued to the clinic confirming that it must only use “conscious sedation”.
“Under NSW health legislation, facilities that undertake surgical procedures using anything beyond conscious sedation, for example general anaesthetic, are required to be licensed,” Ms Skinner said.
“The Cosmetic Institute is not licensed and is therefore not permitted to use more than conscious sedation.”
The company denied reports the woman had suffered anaesthetic toxicity, believing the cardiac arrest may have been caused by a “vagal response,” caused by the vagus nerve in the brain which is linked to the heart.
“While at this stage the cause is unknown, it is unlikely that local anaesthetic toxicity was the cause,” a statement said.
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Hugh Bartholomeusz called for nationwide regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry.