Unlicensed plastic surgery blamed in woman's death

May 14, 2013 3:03:43 PM PDT
After 45 years of marriage, Marciano Ramirez now lives in his Washington Heights apartment alone. The solitude is excruciating.

"Every time I think of her I want to cry," he said.

Back in February police sources say his wife, Minerva Rodriguez, went to a Bronx apartment to get buttock augmentation.

"I don't know what they did. They were going to put something in her butt. I don't know, like the women do. It looks like they injected her with something poisonous. The moment they put that in her she became ill," Ramirez said.

Vomiting uncontrollably, Rodriguez was taken to St. Barnabas hospital where she died hours after the procedure. In April, the medical examiner determined Rodriguez died of "acute lidocaine intoxication." Lidocaine is a local anesthetic typically used to numb the area being injected. But in this case, the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide because Rodriguez received " lidocaine injections by non-medical unlicensed person."

"This is certainly enough. Even less than this would do it," Paul H. Rosenberg, M.D. plastic surgeon, said.

Rosenberg says even a 50 ML vile would kill someone.

"Absolutely," he said.

Rosenberg, a plastic surgeon for more than 20 years now, says the bulk of his patients come to him to repair botched plastic surgery. Sources say Rodriguez had 12 incisions in her buttocks way too many, according to Dr. Rosenberg.

"The whole augmentation is done through one incision in my hands. There are others that do it through two or three," Rosenberg said.

Miles: "But have you ever heard of 12?"
Rosenberg: "Never. Not by a licensed physician."
Miles: "That just sounds??"
Rosenberg: "Insane. And unnecessary."

Dr. Rosenberg has a sizeable Latin American clientele and says in these cases there's a huge trust factor. In most cases, the unlicensed medical person convinces the patient, this is procedure they have performed in their home country.

Miles: "Is she licensed in the Dominican Republic?"
Luis /Suspect's Son: "No. We don't live in DR right now, so no. She's not licensed."
Miles: "Does she have any kind of medical license?"
Luis /Suspect's Son: "Yes."
Miles: "What kind of medical license does she have?"
Luis /Suspect's Son: "I wouldn't know how to tell you. I don't know about all her things. I'm just her son."

An arrest warrant has been issued for 57 year old Julia Garcia Polanco for reckless endangerment. Sources say lidocaine, syringes and needles were confiscated from the apartment where the procedure was performed. That's where we caught up with Polanco's son.

Miles: "How much did your mother charge for this?"
Luis/Suspect's Son: "It was like a coffee cup, like a thousand dollars for a coffee cup."

A coffee cup full of some type of unknown liquid, maybe silicone was used to augment the buttock, according to Luis. The 22 year old says he knows his mother has been doing a procedure for decades. After Rodriguez died, Luis says she took off and he hasn't heard from her.

(Darla:) "Has anyone been sick after she's performed a procedure?"
(Luis:) "Not that I know of, no. Like I said she's been doing this for a long time."

Too long for Ramierez, who wants Polanco stopped.

"This woman shouldn't be out there killing women. That's the only thing she knows how to do is kill women. I would be indebted to you that you do whatever it takes get this woman," Ramierez said.