Wife of accused plastic surgeon prepped her own anesthesia before fatal operation

Benjamin Brown performed unwanted procedures on patients, including Brazilian butt lifts, and allowed his wife Hillary to take part despite her not having a medical license, officials say

Michelle Del Rey
Wednesday 19 June 2024 22:14
Hillary Ellington Brown and Benjamin Brown. The doctor was arrested this week following the death of his wife on his operating table in Florida last year
Hillary Ellington Brown and Benjamin Brown. The doctor was arrested this week following the death of his wife on his operating table in Florida last year (Rose Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery/Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office)

The wife of a Florida plastic surgeon who died on his operating table had prepared her own anesthesia before surgery and taken a handful of multicolored pills, according to a state report.

Benjamin Brown, 41, was charged with second-degree felony homicide and manslaughter by culpable negligence. He turned himself in to police on Monday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on Friday. Brown is being held in the county jail pending his bond hearing.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to Brown’s practice, Restore Plastic Surgery, in Gulf Breeze, Florida, for a medical emergency on November 21, 2023.

Hillary Ellington Brown, 33, had suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to a hospital, where she was later put on life support. She died seven days later. An autopsy into her death is pending.

On the day Brown’s wife went into cardiac arrest, she was scheduled to undergo miniature muscle plication/abdominal scar revision, bilateral arm liposuction, lip injections, and ear adjustment procedures.

On the day Brown’s wife, Hillary, went into cardiac arrest, she was scheduled to undergo miniature muscle plication/abdominal scar revision, bilateral arm liposuction, lip injections and ear adjustment procedures. She prepared her own anesthesia before the surgeries
On the day Brown’s wife, Hillary, went into cardiac arrest, she was scheduled to undergo miniature muscle plication/abdominal scar revision, bilateral arm liposuction, lip injections and ear adjustment procedures. She prepared her own anesthesia before the surgeries (Rose Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery)

A state report revealed that she had prepared her own anesthesia before the surgeries but did not document what she took.

She also ingested a handful of multicolored pills, including Valium. Shortly before the procedures, she began experiencing symptoms relating to sedation. When she went into the operating room, Brown administered additional anesthesia without being able to verify what his wife took, according to a report obtained by WEAR-TV.

He subsequently did not record his wife’s medication and dosage. At one point, his wife told him that her vision was becoming blurry and she saw “orange.” She also experienced restlessness, muscle twitching and blurred vision, which are common symptoms of toxicity.

The doctor then continued injecting drugs into her face, according to the report. She then became unresponsive and started to seize. A medical assistant asked Brown if they should call 911 and he said “no.”

Benjamin Brown, 41, has been arrested following the death of his wife, Hillary Brown Ellington. Days before the woman died, Brown performed procedures on her that resulted in her suffering a cardiac arrest
Benjamin Brown, 41, has been arrested following the death of his wife, Hillary Brown Ellington. Days before the woman died, Brown performed procedures on her that resulted in her suffering a cardiac arrest (Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office )

In the next 10 to 20 minutes, the assistant asked again and he said “no” or “wait,” the report noted.

Brown began to panic and requested that his assistants bring him supplies, including an oxygen tank and stethoscope but the employees found it difficult to find the items. Meanwhile, Brown yelled at the staff asking “what medication did she take? What did she take?”

After 10 to 20 minutes, Brown’s wife’s breaths became shallow and her pulse and oxygen levels became low, the report stated. He then instructed his employees to call 911. Emergency officials arrived and transported her to the hospital.

She never regained consciousness. The couple share three children.

According to the health department’s website, Brown graduated from Georgetown University’s Department of Plastic Surgery in 2015. He holds medical licenses in Florida, Washington DC, Virginia and West Virginia. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Marty Ellington, Brown’s father, told thePensacola News Journal: “My family lives in a sea of tears for eternity due to the actions of one careless individual. His ego and arrogance overshadowed the need for help, prolonging oxygen deprivation to her brain and ultimately causing her death.

“Ben Brown took the mother from my grandchildren, my only daughter and our brightest star. Hillary gave the ultimate sacrifice so Ben Brown can not hurt anyone else. Maybe in prison, he will get the attention he deserves.”

The Independent emailed Brown for comment.

On May 2, the Florida’s Department of Health issued an emergency order restricting Brown’s medical license to only perform procedures or surgeries in a licensed hospital while under the supervision of a licensed physician.

The department is pursuing disciplinary action in the case. Brown has chosen to challenge the allegations made against him and the case will be heard by the Division for Administrative Hearings.

The department conducted a probe as part of its request to restrict Brown’s license. Per that report, a medical assistant said Brown’s business started to decline in 2021. The person noticed Brown had been delegating more to his physician assistant and his wife, who did not have a medical license.

The employee described the facility as “dirty” and “poorly maintained,” the report stated Medications were stored in an unlocked cabinet and employees would take Versed, a sedative, “to take the edge off.”

The practice’s administration was tumultuous and poorly managed, the employee continued, describing Brown as vindictive.

Officials with the Department of Health said Brown performed unwanted procedures on patients, including Brazilian butt lifts and allowed his wife to perform procedures on patients despite not having a medical license.

One patient said her body is “disfigured” from the treatment she received at Brown’s practice between 2021 and 2023. Another said she constantly has pain in her diaphragm, abdomen and hips stemming from the procedures she had at Brown’s office.

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