The price that some people are willing to pay to look young is going up, but not in dollars. Several people looking for a discount on plastic surgery procedures have suffered severe infections, disfigurement and pain from a couple who performed surgery without a medical license.
The Jackson Heights couple was arrested last Wednesday and later arraigned at Queens Criminal Court for performing medical procedures without a license.
The husband and wife defendants, Eliezar and Iris Fernandez, were arrested after police received complaints from two people who claimed that they had received life-threatening infections during cosmetic procedures. Both victims are disfigured.
Eliezar Fernandez, 53, and Iris Fernandez, 49, who claims to be a dentist in Venezuela, have been charged with several crimes, including criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, first degree assault and unauthorized use of a professional title. Each defendant faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The illegal surgery, which included the injection of Hyacell, an anti-wrinkle substance similar to Botox that is not approved for use in the United States, and surgical incisions made to the victims’ faces, took place at the couple’s apartment in Manhattan at 316 Third Avenue and at a house in Jackson Heights at 24-17 77th Street.
A search of the couple’s home and car turned up a portable treatment table, several boxes of syringes and various amounts of drugs.
The duo serviced at least nine individuals between February 28th and May 22nd, with some victims returning for several treatments, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
One victim, Freddy Borges, a 47-year-old artist from Brooklyn, received three treatments from the defendants for $300 each on February 28th, March 22nd and April 26th. He allegedly contracted an infection and a fever on the first visit and returned to the couple for additional treatment.
When he returned, Iris Fernandez allegedly made multiple incisions on his face and drained blood from them. She then gave him pills to treat the infection.
When this failed, Borges returned yet again, at which point Fernandez gave him several injections to reduce the inflammation in his swollen cheeks. He has since been admitted to a Manhattan hospital for treatment.
Joan Lusk, 63, a cosmetics salesperson, went through a similar experience. She allegedly receive six treatments from the pair for $600 each for the treatment of wrinkles in her hands and face. She subsequently developed swelling and inflammation in her face and hands and was forced to go to a private physician for treatment.
Authorities are asking anyone who feels they may have received unlicensed treatment or who have experienced similar infections to call the Department of Health at 877-NYC-DOH7