Deanna Roberts, a woman from Florida, has pleaded guilty to killing another woman. Roberts injected her client with liquid silicone, a cosmetic procedure she used on at least three other patients.
The victim was a popular transgender entertainer in Atlanta named Lateasha Hall, better known by her stage name Lateasha Shuntel. Hall died approximately 36 hours after having been injected with silicone and the substance had reached her lungs, brain, heart, and other organs.
An autopsy on Hall found a punctured blood vessel, as well as silicone traces carried in the bloodstream. From the blood, the silicone reached the patient's organs. A microscopic examination of the tissue surrounding one of the injection sites led to the conclusion that the silicone had caused Hall's death.
Woman Kills One After Liquid Silicone Injection
Roberts, who is 47, started purchasing liquid silicone from a company in Arizona back in 2004. The woman submitted an affidavit to the company falsely stating that she was not planning on injecting silicone into humans. Roberts ordered at least 178 gallons of silicone between 2004 and 2015.
According to the records, Roberts injected at least four victims in the Atlanta area, claiming she was a licensed medical practitioner.
In November 2015, Hall had gone to Roberts to receive silicone injections as a cosmetic procedure, for buttocks enhancement, and 10 injections were administered to her that day.
"Roberts admitted that she caused the death of one person by injecting her with liquid silicone, and that she also injected liquid silicone into multiple other people, putting their lives at considerable risk. Before undergoing any type of medical procedure, patients should ensure they have consulted a licensed medical provider who is qualified to provide care," noted U.S. Attorney John Horn in a press release.
People who don't have the appropriate training or experience cannot legally perform these kinds of services.
Soft Tissue Augmentation, Illegal With Liquid Silicone
The FDA has never approved silicone injections for the augmentation of the human body.
"Liquid silicone injected into individuals' bodies can cause serious bodily injury and death, and FDA has not approved any such product for tissue augmentation," said Justin Green, the special agent in charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami field office.
However, there are legal and much less riskier ways of using soft tissue fillers. At the same time, the FDA warns the public that even the legal ones can cause long-term side effects, as well as permanent side effects, and in some cases both.
Most of these side effects usually occur shortly after the injection. Most of them go away in less than two weeks, except for swelling and pain that can last for a month or even more. There are also rare cases in which the side effects can occur after weeks, months, or even years after the injection.
Because of this possibility, the FDA advises people to be careful with the procedures they are planning on having. Some of the most common side effects of injecting soft tissue fillers include bruising, swelling, redness, tenderness, pain, rash or itching, as well as difficulty in performing different activities (when the fillers are injected in the back of the hand).