TAMPA (FOX 13) - Deputies say they've arrested two people who were performing unlicensed liposuction treatments at a Hillsborough County clinic.
According to the sheriff's office, patients of the Orozco Medical Clinic had to seek treatment at local hospitals due to complications from surgery performed at the clinic. Detectives and the Department of Health spent a year and a half reviewing records and holding "numerous" interviews with patients.
Deputies say Claudia Patricia Orozco, 44, and Marlon Ricardo Barcelo, 40, were not licensed doctors and not authorized to perform tumescent liposuction on patients.
Four victims have been identified by investigators. Some of the victims have "permanent disfigurement" due to the procedures performed by Claudia Orozco.
"The scarring is tremendous on these victims," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Major Frank Losat said. "One of them has to wear certain garments to keep her body from tingling all the time so she can physically function. She's that injured because of this procedure."
Orozco and Barcelo were arrested on charges of practicing medicine without a license and aggravated battery with great bodily harm. Orozco also faces several charges of fraud.
Deputies say they are looking for anyone who may have had procedures at the Orozco Medical Center, located at 8210 West Waters Avenue in Tampa, Florida, and which has a website at orozcomedspa.com, to come forward and provide any information about your contact with Orozco or Barcelo.
Potential victims may contact:
-The Florida State Department of Health in Hillsborough County - hillsborough.floridahealth.gov/contact-us/index.html
-The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office - 813-247-8200 or www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/getdoc/aba59046-1e3a-4edb-a2d0-a77b8f51220e/Contact.aspx
-The Florida State Attorney's Office - 813-272- 5400 or www.sao13th.com/
Investigators said the business has been there since 2003 under the Orozco name. The name changed from "Group" to "Clinic" recently, but did not otherwise change.
There was a doctor on staff, a pediatric neurosurgeon, who is the director of the facility. Investigators said she did not participate in the surgeries. It was not clear if she would face any charges in connection to the case. They said other staff members could face charges, as well.
The attorney representing Orozco, meanwhile, says investigators haven't told the whole story. In a statement released to FOX 13 News, Attorney Dale Sisco said, "These procedures were performed by licensed and trained physicians, with the assistance from surgical first assistants, like Claudia Orozco."
"What the Sheriff's Office knows or should know is that these procedures were done after the patients executed informed consents in which they acknowledged the risks of the procedures and requested that they be performed," Sisco added.
According to Sisco, Orozco is a licensed physician in Colombia. Though she had a lot of contact with patients at the medical center, she did not actually perform liposuction.
"In this type of tumescent liposuction procedure, there isn't an incision made so the suggestion that people had scars across their midsection or up and down their midsection doesn't square with what the procedure is," Sisco said.
No matter what type of procedure, investigators say this case is a warning to patients.
"Do your homework on your doctor before you front all this money to the doctors on a procedure that you're not sure of," said Losat. "We have true victims in this case that now are scarred for life in more than one way."
Customers coming to Orozco Medical Center Tuesday were met with this sign: "Office will be closed today. Sorry for the inconvenience."
"We were planning to come for an appointment," said Dlyse Abukaf. "I'm really surprised. Everyone seems legit. It's very clean. There's a lot of up-to-date equipment."
A previous version of this article contained a photo with a misspelling of Claudia Orozco's name. It has since been corrected.