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Featured / News / Virgin Islands / October 7, 2014

In an email received late Monday night from Juan F. Luis Hospital CEO Dr. Kendall Griffith, the VI Consortium was informed that the hospital has terminated its contract with Nedra Dodds, a former metro Atlanta-based plastic surgeon stripped of her medical license in February by the Georgia Composite Medical Board in connection with two patient deaths.

Dr. Griffith’s email came in response to a story VI Consortium broke on Oct. 6, through information received from its tip line, about the unlicensed former physician’s affiliation with the Luis Hospital, which was confirmed in an interview Monday with Samuel Baptiste, special assistant to Dr. Griffith.

“I know she is on contract here at the hospital, that’s all I can confirm,” Baptiste said.

Griffith, in his email, refutes his assistant’s account that Dodds is still on contract with the hospital, claiming that her contract had been terminated over the weekend, on Sat., Oct. 4, two days before the VI Consortium met with Baptiste. Griffith issued the following statement to the VI Consortium:

Dr. Nedra Dodds was hired by JFL on September 17, 2014 to perform professional services as a consultant.  Her contract was very specific and involved no clinical services or interactions with any JFL patients. As has been previously shared with the media, JFL has been reviewing and revamping its protocols and processes to provide meaningful reform hospital-wide, especially since receiving the results of the CMS survey.  This effort includes reevaluating all of our vendors and the services they are contracted to provide to the hospital.  The professional services contract for Dr. Nedra Dodds was reviewed as part of JFL’s due diligence process JFL terminated its relationship with Dr. Dodds as of October 4, 2014. 

Timeline of Stateside Events

  • February 2013 – Patient dies as a direct result of care administered by Dodds
  • February 28, 2014 – Georgia Composite Medical Board strips Dodds of her medical license

Investigative reporter Adam Murphy of the CBS affiliate in Atlanta investigated Dodds, a former model, for seven months after learning of the deaths of two young women following procedures of liposuction and a buttocks reduction at Dodds’ now-defunct Opulence Aesthetic Medicine practice in Kennesaw, Ga. The VI Consortium placed a call to the number listed on the company’s website, but the number was disconnected.

In its suspension of Dodds’ license on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, the State Medical Board wrote in its Order of Summary Suspension that, “The Board finds that Respondent’s continued practice of medicine poses a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare and imperatively requires emergency action and hereby ORDERS that Respondent’s license to practice medicine in the state of Georgia be and is hereby SUMMARILY SUSPENDED…”

The Order further outlined some of the gruesome details surrounding patient “AJ’s” death as a direct result of cosmetic surgery procedures performed by Dodds:

WHEREAS, the Board has received reliable information that Respondent’s surgical care and treatment of patient A. J. was unprofessional and fell below the standard of care, causing patient AJ. significant pain during surgery and causing or significantly contributing to patient A.J.’s death:
a. AJ., a 37 year old woman, presented for liposuction and fat injections into her
buttocks on February 19,2013.
b. Respondent completed the procedure in less than one hour and 45 minutes.
c. During the liposuction portion of the procedure, AJ.’s diaphragm and liver capsule were lacerated, and A.J. ‘s intercostal spaces were penetrated twice, causing hemorrhaging of 250 cc of blood into the abdominal cavity from the liver, GI mesentery, and right renal fat pad.
d. AJ. was not properly sedated and remained largely conscious during portions of the procedure. Two staff members reported that AJ. was “completely conscious” or “fully aware”; that she protested loudly, complaining that the procedure was “tearing” and “burning”; and that Respondent told AJ. to be quiet because “she had paid for this.” One of these staff members reported that Respondent placed a rag in AJ.’s mouth to quiet her during the procedure.

The Order also pointed out Dodds was Board Certified only in emergency care, but not in plastic surgery, the medical practice under which she performed the fatal procedures on patient “AJ” and 27-year-old, Erica Beaubrun. See the Medical Board’s full report here.

Timeline of Local Events

Dodds was brought on at JFL to “perform professional services as a consultant” in the height of the decision of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to withdraw its funding and certification from the hospital.

  • September 17, 2014 – JFL hires Dodds as a consultant, it is still unclear what specific professional services she provided
  • September 18, 2014 – Dr. Griffith, interim CEO at the time, issues a written and audio statement to media announcing CMS’s intent to withdraw its funding and certification from the hospital on Oct. 9
  • September 19, 2014 – Dr. Griffith hosts a televised press conference to officially announce CMS’s intent to withdraw its funding and certification from the Luis Hospital on Oct. 9
  • September 20, 2014 – CMS issued a damning 112-page report outlining significant deficiencies and problems at the hospital, one of which was the hiring of physicians through special privileges, effectively bypassing proper vetting procedures and oversight

View the video below for the complete story on Dodds’ background, as reported by CBS 46 in Atlanta.

Dying To Be Thin – SPJ Entry from Adam Murphy on Vimeo.

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Cynthia Graham

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