A Brazilian celebrity surgeon known as “Dr. Bumbum” has been formally charged with murder in connection with the death of a patient, according to the New York Times.
Denis Furtado, 45, was hit with the charges nearly a month after he briefly went on the lam following the death of Lilian Calixto, a married mother of two who became sick and died last month following a butt lift, the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors also charged his mother, Maria Fatima Furtado, and girlfriend Renata Fernandes with murder for allegedly assisting Furtado in the deadly procedure, according to the Times.
Officials accused Furtado of luring Calixto and other patients with “the false promise of immediate beauty, selfishly motivated by greed and an easy profit,” the Times reports.
Calixto became ill after undergoing a butt lift at Furtado’s apartment in a tony section of Rio, a procedure in which Furtado allegedly injected polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA, a synthetic resin known as acrylic glass, into his patient, giving her a much larger dose than is recommend, the Times reports.
Furtado brought Calixto to the hospital after she began to get dizzy and experience an elevated heart rate, but she died of cardiac arrest within six hours, according to the Times.
Furtado, who frequently posts before-and-after photos of his work to Facebook and Instagram, spent several days on the run following the July 14 incident, and turned himself in July 19, claiming he had panicked and had never intended to evade justice, the BBC reported at the time.
Following his arrest, he acknowledged Calixto’s death, but proclaimed his innocence.
“A fatality has occurred—a fatality that could happen to any doctor,” he said in a statement, according to the Independent.
Despite his popularity on social media, where he had more than 650,000 Instagram followers, prosecutors accuse Furtado of plying his plastic-surgery trade without the appropriate license and without any specialized training, the Guardian reported. He was licensed to practice in the state of Brasilia, but not in Rio where his home and illegal practice were located, the newspaper reports.
In addition, his mother, Fatima Furtado presented herself as a doctor, but had a suspended license, the Guardian reports.
The use of PMMA is not illegal in Brazil, but it is considerably riskier — and cheaper — than silicone injections or fat transfers, procedures that take more time for recovery, according to the Times.
As a result of demanding beauty standards, the country has become awash with backroom cosmetic surgeons like Furtado, Dr. Níveo Steffen, the president of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery, told the Times.
“People are seduced by the promise of cheap, immediate results,” he said. “They see ads claiming they’ll walk out of a one-hour consultation with a new backside. But it’s a lie, and they end up paying the price.”
In addition to 6,400 cosmetic surgeons licensed to work in Brazil, the Society of Plastic Surgery estimates there are 12,000 unlicensed surgeons offering procedures of questionable quality and safety, the Times reports.
In one year, PMMA caused deformities in 17,000 patients, according to a survey published by the Society.
[Photo: Rio de Janeiro State Military Police]