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Credentials of doctor connected to cosmetic surgery deaths questioned

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KENNESAW, GA (CBS46) -

Opulence Aesthetic Medicine touts themselves as an award-winning med spa in a YouTube promo.

"If you want to look good, feel good and do good, then you want Opulence," the promo says.

Their founder, Dr. Nedra Dodds, is a former model turned surgeon.

"Daily laughter and hugs are a normal part of the day at club O," says the promo.

But there is nothing normal about two women dying this year following cosmetic procedures at Dodds' office in Kennesaw, GA.

"I saw the day of the funeral them roll the coffin out and I saw Serge, my son, and I saw two other guys pick up the coffin and I'm calling and I'm calling and I'm calling and no response," Erica Beaubrun's mother, Elsie Albert, said.

Elsie Albert and John Beaubrun lost their 27-year-old daughter Erica in June 2013. She died minutes after a buttocks reduction procedure performed by Dodds.

"Just one day I lost my daughter like this. It feels sad, terrible," John Beaubrun said.

Another patient, April Jenkins, died in February following a liposuction procedure by Dodds. The medical examiner's report shows there were multiple puncture wounds to her liver.

"The medical board is obligated to assure that we have safe physicians," Dr. Jean Sumner said.

Sumner is medical director of Georgia's Composite Medical Board. The board licenses physicians and provides that information to the public so you can check a doctor's background.

CBS Atlanta asked Sumner if the medical board checks or verifies a doctor's information before posting it to their website.

"We have to trust the individual physician to put down what is honest and accurate as required by law," Sumner said.

Yet our investigation shows key pieces of Dodds credentials aren't valid.

CBS Atlanta asked Dodds if she has hospital privileges as listed on the public search engine of the Georgia Composite Medical Board's website.

"I do," Dodds said.

We checked with the listed hospitals, Northside-Cherokee and Hamilton Medical Center, and she doesn't have privileges.

"I am a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery," Dodds told us in our interview.

We checked and she isn't.

"I'm also boarded by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine," Dodds added.

Again, we checked and she's not.

On Dodds' website, in her resume section, she claims to be a member of additional associations and organizations. We checked and learned she's not a member of the American Medical Association as she claimed. Nor is she a member of the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery and she hasn't been a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians in six years.

In our interview with Dodds we informed her that a simple phone call to these organizations showed that she was not a member and that she didn't have hospital privileges.

"That's inaccurate," Dodds said, ending the interview.

CBS Atlanta News asked Sumner how the Georgia Composite Medical Board would react to findings that a doctor had provided them with inaccurate information.

"It would be of concern to the board and the board would take action against any physician that falsified their credentials or training or certification," Sumner said.

Another key role of the board is to investigate charges of misconduct. Sources tell CBS Atlanta the board had allegations against Dodds on file before Erica Beaubrun died.

Allegations included the following:

  • Dodds operated on a high-risk patient with elevated blood pressure and glucose.
  • Surgeries were performed on patients without nurses.
  • Staff complained they would no longer be involved in the OR without a nurse.

We filed a freedom of information request for those official documents, but the Georgia Composite Medical Board refused.

CBS Atlanta asked Sumner if the board had received any complaints about Dodds prior to the deaths.

"I don't know that I can say it clearer. I cannot discuss a specific case with you of anything going on before the board," Sumner said.

Erica Beaubrun's family believes that if the medical board had acted on these allegations and verified Dodds' credentials their daughter may not have died.

"Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, make sure you know what you're doing," Elsie Albert said.

Deaths, disfigurations and injuries from outpatient cosmetic procedures like liposuction are on the rise across the country, and the Board of Examiners in some states have responded with rules and regulations to protect the public.

What to Check Before Surgery:

CheckDescriptionHow to Check
Board Certification Certification by an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized board that is appropriate to the procedure. American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification ensures in-depth plastic surgical training. ABPS: 215-587-9322 or http://www.abplsurg.org
ABMS: http://www.abms.org
Hospital Privileges Regardless of where the surgery is to be performed, the surgeon should have privileges to perform the procedure in an acute care hospital. Ask the professional staff office at the hospital to verify staff privileges.
Surgeon's Experience American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) membership means a surgeon is ABPS-certified and has significant experience in cosmetic surgery of the face and body. ASAPS: 888-272-7711 or http://www.surgery.org
Surgical Facility Accreditation Facilities should be accredited by a recognized accrediting body, or be state licensed or Medicare-certified. AAAASF: 847-949-6058 or http://www.aaaasf.org
AAAHC: 847-853-6060 or http://www.aaahc.org
JCAHO: 630-792-5000 or http://www.jcaho.org
Check with individual states for license information.
Details of Your Surgery To be discussed before surgery: Your complete medical history including past and current medications; surgical benefits, risks, and alternatives; total cost including surgeon fees, anesthesia, facility and other; surgeon's policy on revisionary procedures; postsurgical care and typical timeline for resuming work/social activities. Ask your board-certified plastic surgeon.

Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

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    Wednesday, February 19 2014 11:04 AM EST2014-02-19 16:04:29 GMT
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