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Florida Plastic Surgeon Charged With Death of His Wife on His Operating Table

A Florida plastic surgeon was arrested this week and charged with the death of his wife, who suffered a cardiac arrest while on his operating table last November and subsequently died.

Benjamin Brown, 41, faces a charge of second degree felony homicide: manslaughter by culpable negligence for the death of 33-year-old Hillary Brown, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said.

First responders were called to Brown’s Restore Plastic Surgery on November 21, 2023, and learned that Hillary Brown began having seizures and went into cardiac arrest while undergoing “several procedures,” as CrimeOnline reported. She went into a coma and was taken off life support a week later.

The Pensacola News Journal said a warrant for Ben Brown’s arrest was signed on Friday, and he turned himself in on Monday. He was released the same day on a $50,000 bond, jail records show.

According to the News Journal, Brown’s arrest followed a Florida Health Department investigation that showed he reportedly waited to call 911 after his wife became unresponsive and also waited 10 to 20 minutes before beginning CPR. The investigation also said he did not hae life-saving equipment readily available in his office and failed to following proper protocols when administering sedatives, which led to her death.

The department issued an emergency order on May 2 limiting Brown’s medical license to performing any procedures in a licensed hospital under the supervision of a licensed physician.

The department is also seeking penalties from the Florida Board of Medicine for several violations of state statutes, including allowing his wife to perform procedures without a license.

Ben Brown/Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s OFfice

The investigation report said that Hillary Brown was allowed to prepare and administer her own anesthesia solution on the day of her surgery and that she showed signs of lidocaine toxicity before she became unresponsive, but Ben Brown continued the process. Staff eventually made the 911 call.

The report also describes other violations on other patients, including unauthorized procedures, failing to follow sterility protocols, and improper work that resulted in infecions.

Hillary Brown’s father, Marty Ellington, told the News Journal he was relieved with the arrest.

“My family lives in a sea of tears for eternity due to the actions of one careless individual,” he said. “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 cannot hurt anyone else. Maybe in prison, he will get the attention he deserves.”

Several lawsuits have been filed on the panhandle by businesses trying to collect debts from Brown. Court documents also say he lost his office property to foreclosure.

A statement from his crisis management public relations firm denied the accusations against him and said the charges “only further deepen his immense pain.”