In Depth

Brazil plastic surgeon ‘Dr Bumbum’ arrested after patient death

Celebrity doctor allegedly caused the death of a bank manager after injecting silicone into her buttocks

Brazillian police have arrested a celebrity plastic surgeon, known as Dr Bumbum, five days after he went on the run following the death of a patient whose buttocks he had enhanced.

Police said on Twitter that the doctor, Denis Furtado, who performed the operation in his own apartment, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro.

“He was arrested in a business centre in Barra de Tijuca,” police tweeted, following up with a photo of Furtado and his mother, Maria Fátima Barros, in custody.

Furtado “had become a celebrity in Brazil and revelled in his nickname in social media posts”, says The Guardian. He had more than 600,000 followers on his Instagram account and a further 44,000 on his Facebook page. Furtado used the accounts to publish “before” and “after” photos of his treatments.

Police say the exact cause of the death of the patient, identified as 46-year-old bank manager Lilian Calixto, has not been determined.

The Independent quotes local media as saying Calixto arrived at the hospital “with tachycardia, an abnormally fast heart rate, after having silicone injected into each buttock. The procedure is also believed to involve the injection of acrylic glass filler.”

After Calixto’s death, arrest warrants were issued for Furtado and his mother in connection with her murder. While on the run the pair had sought a court order, which was rejected, so they could remain free while their case proceeded.

A court statement said: “The doctor even broke the barrier of a parking lot in a shopping mall in Barra with a car on seeing a police vehicle and escaped with his mother.”

In a video posted on his Instagram after his arrest on Thursday, “Furtado said the woman's death was an accident and that he had performed 9,000 such procedures - which are legal in Brazil”, The Independent reports.

But Brazilian media said that his registration from the Federal Medical Council showed that he was licensed as a doctor in Brasília and the nearby state of Goiás, but he was not recorded as a specialist nor licensed to perform procedures in Rio de Janeiro.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse cited by the BBC, Niveo Steffen, the president of the Regional Medical Council of the State of Rio de Janeiro, decried a “growing invasion of non-specialists” in plastic surgery in Brazil.

“You cannot perform plastic surgery inside an apartment,” Steffen said. “Many people are selling a dream, a fantasy to patients in an unethical way and people, weakened, are often attracted to low prices, without considering whether or not the conditions are adequate,” he told the news agency.

In a press conference after the arrest, Furtado’s lawyer Naiara Baldanza said her client was innocent and had not given himself up because he suffered from “panic syndrome”.

“For every truth there is a parallel truth,” she told reporters. “Many facts have surfaced and I am sure we will show the innocence of Dr Denis.”

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