For the second time this year, a young woman has been rushed to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest at The Cosmetic Institute (TCI), one of Australia’s most popular cosmetic surgery clinics.
The 22-year-old woman was undergoing a breast enlargement procedure at TCI’s Bondi Clinic in Sydney when she suffered what a spokeswoman for the company described as an “adverse reaction”.
The spokeswoman told the ABC the patient’s heart stopped beating.
Doctors at TCI were able to stabilise the woman before she was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
St Vincent’s Hospital said she was expected to remain in intensive care for 24 hours.
In January, 21-year-old Amy Rickhuss suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing a breast augmentation at TCI’s Parramatta clinic.
The cause of Ms Rickhuss’s cardiac arrest is unknown, but the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission is investigating reports she was given the drug Intralipid, which is used to reverse the effects of local anaesthetic toxicity.
The Cosmetic Institute under investigation
Last month the ABC revealed that The Cosmetic Institute is under investigation by the Health Consumer Complaints Commission for alleged inappropriate use of anaesthetics.
Senior members of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery wrote to the HCCC in March, saying they were “concerned that The Cosmetic Institute may be placing patients at risk … by providing surgery under deep sedation while not being properly licensed to do so”.
The Cosmetic Institute is only licensed to provide conscious sedation, otherwise known as twilight sedation.
NSW Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord told ABC’s 7.30 program that during a tour of The Cosmetic Institute’s Bondi clinic in June, he saw two women undergoing breast procedures who appeared to be unconscious.
“So I asked the question, ‘are they under a general?’, and the person giving the tour said they were,” Mr Secord said.
TCI denies this exchange took place and said no-one told Mr Secord patients were under a general anaesthetic.
The Cosmetic Institute has two clinics in Sydney and is set to open a third on the Gold Coast next month.
TCI offers breast augmentations for just under $6,000 — half the cost of the average breast augmentation in Australia.
The Cosmetic Institute describes itself as “Australia’s largest and most trusted cosmetic surgery clinic” and says it performs around 5,000 breast procedures each year.