The medical license of an Atlanta-area dermatologist who posted videos of herself rapping and dancing while performing cosmetic surgery was suspended yesterday, according to Georgia Composite Medical Board documents.
Windell Davis-Boutté, MD, has been sued by at least seven women for negligence, among other allegations, after cosmetic procedures resulted in permanent damage, according to the Washington Post.
The lawsuits against Davis-Boutté were previously reported through a joint investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV Atlanta on May 21.
Davis-Boutté posted more than 20 videos of herself singing and dancing in the operating room as a marketing tool for her practice in Lilburn, Georgia, while patients lay immobile, often bare buttocks exposed.
The videos have since been removed from YouTube, but many can still be viewed on several news sites, including WSB-TV.
Davis-Boutté did not respond to requests for comment from Medscape Medical News.
Bride-to-Be Now Has Feeding Tube
Among the lawsuits is the case of Icilma Cornelius, 54, who was weeks from her wedding when, on February 18, 2016, she went to Davis-Boutté’s office for cosmetic surgery. Eight hours into the surgery to remove fat and skin from several parts of her body, the Washington Post reported, Cornelius went into cardiac arrest and subsequently suffered catastrophic brain injury. She now relies on a feeding tube and 24-hour care.
Cornelius’ lawyer, Susan Witt, commissioned a video of Cornelius after the surgery as evidence in the lawsuit.
Witt, who also represents other former Davis-Boutté patients, told CNN that she has heard from nearly 100 former patients of the physician since the surgery videos went viral.
The Washington Post reports that at least three of the seven lawsuits have been settled for undisclosed amounts.
Another lawsuit was filed April 17, 2018, in Dekalb County Court in Georgia by former Davis-Boutté patient Tianna Smith. She was a patient of Davis-Boutté’s on August 4, 2016, and was to undergo a liposuction procedure called Smartlipo.
The day after the surgery, she reported “excessive post-operative drainage at the surgical site, swelling and nausea” to Davis-Bouttés office, the lawsuit states.
After several calls, the suit claims, Davis-Boutté’s office instructed her to come into the office the next day. But she didn’t wait.
According to the lawsuit, after “passing out” at home on August 8, she was immediately hospitalized.
“She was diagnosed as having third-degree burns, neuralgia and neuritis and severe dysesthesia from the liposuction procedure,” the lawsuit states.
The suit claims Smith’s injuries “were the direct result of the simple and professional negligence” of Davis-Boutté and her business.
Attorney Chloe Dallaire of Hornsby Law Group represents Smith and another defendant suing Davis-Boutté after a cosmetic procedure.
Dallaire told Medscape Medical News, “I’m glad this is getting some attention. We need the Board to do their job. We’ve had a lot of folks come forward.”
Davis-Boutté’s US News entry says she is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the Atlanta area, including DeKalb Medical at North Decatur and Emory University Hospital Midtown. She received her medical degree from David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
The website for her practice, Boutté Contour Surgery and Skin, says, “She delivers customized cosmetic surgical procedures and performs state of the art skin services to create impressive silhouettes, body contouring and skin that glows! She proudly serves the everyday, working clients…and yes, she is discretely DOCTOR TO THE STARS.”
The Washington Post reports that “under Georgia law, any physician with a medical license can also practice surgery,” so Davis-Boutté was operating legally.
Wright Jones, MD, double board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Muse Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, told Medscape Medical News that the problem of substandard surgeries by physicians who aren’t board-certified surgeons is widespread.
“This isn’t unique to Georgia,” he said.
He said about Davis-Boutté, “She’s allowed to do these procedures, but she’s not allowed to do them in hospitals or accredited surgical centers, because they require the proper training and the proper certification. So oftentimes what these doctors will do is just do it in their office in an unaccredited facility.”
Red Flags for Patients
Jones said one thing for patients seeking surgery to watch for is physicians who call themselves cosmetic surgeons only.
For plastic surgery, it is important that the physician be board certified in plastic surgery, he said.
“It’s very important for patients to inquire what board the physician is certified in as well as ask about their residency training,” he said. “All board-certified plastic surgeons have to do a complete residency training in plastic surgery.”
Board-certified plastic surgeons are fully trained in reconstructive techniques as well as cosmetic surgery techniques, he noted.