Medical oversight experts say there needs to be tighter regulation when it comes to treatments performed by injection that take place in a non-medical setting.
The issue has garnered some attention recently as the trial of beautician Zunilda Anaya Baldovino came to a close this week, culminating in guilty verdicts of two charges of committing reckless and negligent acts. Baldovino was accused of injecting two clients with a noxious substance. Those clients complained they were disfigured by the injections Baldovino performed.
Those with knowledge of the local cosmetic treatment industry believe there are others who have been affected by such practices and that more should be done to prevent unlicensed practitioners – Baldovino was not licensed to give injections – from performing them.
“There are gaps in the health practice law,” said Barrie Quappe, former health practice and facility inspector, reporting to the Health Practice Commission. “There’s a lot we can do as far as who can be recognised” to perform such services.
Quappe, who is now director/consultant for Cayman Healthcare Consulting, said current law recognises only specific types of medical personnel to perform injections.
Dr. Clement Von Kirchenheim is a member of the Health Practice Commission board and the Council for Professions Allied with Medicine, which regulates licensure for such medical practitioners as physicians performing acupuncture, chiropractors and phlebotomists.
“We don’t register hairdressers or beauticians,” Dr. Von Kirchenheim said, adding he doesn’t believe there is any agency that does. “This issue was brought to the attention of CPAM, but we have no authority over them.”
Those professionals who are licensed to do injections should have those licences on display in the facilities where the procedures take place, he added.
“People should look to make sure the facility is licensed,” said Dr. Von Kirchenheim said, explaining that regulating the facility is the responsibility of a different agency, “and the licence for the individual providing the services would be on display”.
Carlene Vassell-Webb is the current registrar for the Health Practice Commission. She said there is no provision in current law to allow for licensing people who do not have medical training to provide injections.
“Healthcare professionals are required to be registered with the appropriate Health Practice Council and are regulated by the Health Practice Law and health practice regulations,” Vassell-Webb said in an email.
As to whether any regulatory changes were being considered, she said, “the matter will be considered.”
Baldovino’s case is not the first of its kind to gain attention. In 2013, there were reports of several clients of beauticians who complained of having adverse results from injection treatments.
Dr. Steve Tomlinson, former owner of CTMH Doctors Hospital and a member of the Health Practice Commission at the time, said the commission received several complaints during that year about beauty therapists administering collagen, Botox or commercial silicon injections without the proper licensing, both at salons and at private parties in people’s homes.
While those cases represented a serious situation, he said, he has not seen much in the interim to make him think more such violations are occurring.
“I don’t really think it’s a big problem,” he said.
Baldovino’s court case, however, shows that it continues to crop up now and then.
Quappe believes more such instances are popping up and some of her colleagues agree. Some type of enforcement is needed on the government side of things, she said, and the public needs to be more vigilant about checking the credentials of anyone preparing to jab them with a needle.
“If they don’t have those certifications,” Quappe said, “there’s probably a good reason.”