Weston Doctor Banned From Surgery After Patient's Death During Liposuction

Dr. Alberto Sant Antonio, a Weston physician whose patient stopped breathing during a liposuction procedure this summer, is temporarily banned from performing office surgeries in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health issued an emergency restriction on Sant Antonio's medical license on July 14, a month after 38-year-old Maria Shortall died following a fat-removal operation at the doctor's office.

According to an administrative complaint filed against Sant Antonio by a health department attorney, Shortall went into cardiac arrest during the June surgery at the Alyne Medical Rejuvenation Institute. Sant Antonio attempted CPR but did not provide the patient fluids or medication, the complaint alleges. Shortall remained in cardiac arrest for ten minutes

before emergency responders arrived and transferred her to Cleveland Clinic Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The complaint also alleges that Sant Antonio broke several state regulations, including failing to register his office with the state health department, not having a qualified anesthesiologist or nurse assist him during surgery, and failing "to meet the standard of care" in responding to Shortall's cardiac arrest.

Sant Antonio is not board-certified as a plastic surgeon, although he trained as a general surgeon in Baltimore and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons.

Sant Antonio is out of town today and not available for comment, according to a woman who answered the phone at his office. When contacted by New Times in July, an office manager at Alyne said Sant Antonio is not a plastic surgeon and does not perform liposuction but rather a procedure called "liposculpture."

The health department complaint calls Shortall's procedure "liposuction and a fat graft."

Shortall was not the only patient to suffer after treatment at Alyne. In February 2010, another patient, Kellee Lee-Howard, died after liposuction performed by Sant Antonio. An autopsy report from the Miami-Dade medical examiner says she died of "poly-drug toxicity complicating elective cosmetic surgery." Lee-Howard's family has a filed a lawsuit alleging Sant Antonio failed to properly administer her anesthesia.

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Lisa Rab
Contact: Lisa Rab