Police in Toronto have charged a 19-year-old woman with aggravated assault allegedly stemming from unlicensed cosmetic surgery performed in a basement clinic in a North York home. The phenomenon is rising concern, say the police, who are asking for other victims or anyone who might have had a home procedure recently performed in the GTA to contact the authorities.
Apparently going by the name of Dr. Kitty but without a medical degree or certification, Jingyi Wang was released on $4,000 bail after being arrested and charged on Saturday. The charges came as a result of a complaint made by a 20-year-old woman who allegedly received face filling injections from Wang. Police stated that the victim realized there was a problem when her face wasn’t healing properly and she was in constant pain. The victim apparently developed an infection and weeks later had to have corrective surgery from a licensed plastic surgeon.
Face filling typically involves injecting compounds such as hyaluronic acids or collagens into wrinkled parts of the skin to either smooth out creases, plump up lips or improve the look of scar tissue. The results are temporary, usually lasting up to six months at a time.
Unlicensed cosmetic surgery practices are not unknown in Canada but evidence of them has so far been scarce. In December of last year, the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons worked with police in a raid of a North Delta basement clinic suspected of giving unauthorized cosmetic facial procedures. The raid produced over a dozen boxes of evidence, a computer and a poster on the wall of the basement clinic and before-and-after photos of women and advertisements written in Chinese characters for age-combatting procedures.
That was the second such case conducted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in two years, going back to a 2015 case involving an illegal botox clinic in Vancouver’s West End.
“Guidelines are in place to protect patients and to cover the whole gamut of the facility,” said Dr Peter Lennox, president of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, to CBC News. “There’s aesthetic outcome and there’s also the risk of medical misfortune. Your infection rate is higher. All of those things we worry about is much higher in a situation like that.”
Toronto Police Constable Jennifer Sidhu says that the number of unauthorized clinics and spas in Toronto offering medical treatments like surgery is currently growing. “This unlicensed medical clinic, it’s becoming more common,” said Const. Sidhu to CityNews. “Not in this instance but others… where parties are conducted in people’s home where there is wine and cheese going on in the next room,” she said. “If you are attending always make sure you check about licensed doctors and if it’s too good of a deal to be true, it probably is.”
In the United States, a study found that for the year 2013, 28 cases of unlicensed cosmetic surgery were reported, involving face injections, buttocks injections, laser facial procedures and liposuctions. Of the 28 reported, 16 resulted in injuries, including hospitalization in eight cases and death in four. Florida, Texas and California were found to have the highest rates of unlicensed practitioners.