A 50-year-old grandmother seeking a liposuction and fat transfer operation this month became the fifth patient to die during or after surgery at Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute in Lauderhill. According to Strax officials, the surgical complication that killed her was the same one that killed a 35-year-old Strax patient last year.
Idell Frazer stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest at the high-volume plastic surgery center on March 22, according to the Lauderhill police. Rescue workers arrived and discovered Frazer did not have a pulse. They brought her to Florida Medical Center, where she died, according to her family.
Last year, 35-year-old Lidvian Zelaya died during a fat transfer surgery at Strax, after a glob of fat entered her bloodstream and clogged her arteries. Strax officials say Frazer also died of a fat embolism.
Peter Mineo Jr., attorney for Strax, provided this written statement: "Strax has been informed that the Medical Examiner has ruled the patient's cause of death was an adipose tissue embolism and that there was no fault on the part of the patient's surgeon or Strax.
This patient and her surgeon chose to use Strax' facilities for her adipose transfer procedure."
"One of the known and recognized complications of this procedure is that in a very small percentage of patients an adipose tissue embolism can occur. When it does occur it is untreatable and often fatal. The patient's medical records reflect that she was told about this very small but real risk and consented to the procedure after discussing this with her surgeon."
Frazer's family's lawyers are holding a press conference this morning. Earlier this week, Frazer's daughter-in-law, Kendra Williams, told New Times she was upset because a Strax official were pressuring her to abandon possible legal action.
"This owner keeps calling us to pressure us to drop this case, " Williams said. "He's a co-owner named Jeff. He just emailed me a confirmation of refunding [Frazer's] first payment, like that means anything. It's not about the money. That won't bring her back. You're taking mothers and sisters away and it's not right. "
"The whole of Broward County is crying this week," Williams added."She was someone that helped everyone."
In addition to Frazer and Zelaya, three other patients have died during or after surgery at Strax.
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-Miami New Times Managing Editor Tim Elfrink contributed to this report.