Two unlicensed doctors have been arrested in Hillsborough County after they allegedly performed liposuction on patients at their Florida clinic.
Claudia Orozco, 44 and Marlon Barcelo, 40, both of Tampa, were arrested and charged with four counts of Practicing Medicine Without A License, 4 counts of Aggravated Battery With Great Bodily Harm and four counts of Organized Fraud Less Than 20,000 dollars, WFTS reports.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office along with the Department of Health began an investigation into into Orozco Medical Clinic after deputies received complaints from patients suffering from complications after having surgery at the clinic.
Over one and a half years, the agencies reviewed records and interviewed victims who paid thousands of dollars to receive a form of Tumescent Liposuction.
The patients told deputies they had to seek medical attention at various hospitals around the Tampa Bay Area from complications after the surgeries performed at Orozco Medical Clinic.
During the investigation, deputies discovered that Orozco and Barcelo were not licensed doctors and they were not authorized to perform the procedures on patients.
“I’m in shock,” said Jacqueline Herrada a patient at Orozco Beauty and Spa who went in for weight loss treatment and medication. “I didn’t know she didn’t have a license.”
Herrada is one of the lucky ones, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have true victims in this case that now are scarred for life,” Major Frank Losat, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say four people are permanently disfigured and have severe pain after having liposuction procedures by Orozco.
“When I talk about scarring I don’t mean just a small two inch scar. We’re talking scarring from your midline all the way to your waist in some cases– extreme discomfort, a lot of pain these victims were in,” said Major Losat.
WFTS found deals on Groupon for people, who want procedures like ultrasonic fat reduction treatments and facials, at the center.
We spoke with Dale Sisco who represents Orozco and the center over the phone Tuesday evening. He told us licensed physicians performed the surgeries and that Orozco and Barcelo are “licensed surgical first assistants and were acting in the scope of their authorized areas of practice”.
The attorney said deputies released inaccurate and misleading information about the two employees.
Dr. Joseph Castellano a Tampa surgeon, who is not affiliated with the case or the investigation, told us people need to make sure their surgeon is board certified in their specialty and the facility is accredited or licensed.
“You want to find somebody that’s well-trained (and) that’s done a lot of this in their training,” Dr.Castellano said.
If someone wants to verify a license, they can go to the Department of Health’s website: appsmqa.doh.state.fl.us/MQASearchServices/HealthCareProviders.
Orozco and Barcelo have been arrested and are currently booked in the Hillsborough County Jail.
The investigation is ongoing.
Investigators are asking reluctant victims to come forward. They believe there could be many because the clinic has moved around Tampa to different locations since 2003.