‘Body parts thrown around’: TikTok cosmetic doc fights to get back the scalpel

It’s not often the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – and listeners – get to hear allegations of the behind-the-scenes practices of a social media star and celebrity cosmetic surgeon, but a hearing this week heard breathtaking stories of Dr Daniel Aronov at one of the country’s biggest cosmetic surgery practices.

At the same time, one of his colleagues Dr Daniel Darbyshire was down the road facing criminal charges over an alleged unprovoked critical injury assault of a 66-year-old man.

But for Aronov, a former senior associate of controversial celebrity doctor the allegations came thick and fast, including stories of him throwing human body parts around the theatre, a woman screaming in excruciating pain during surgery as Lanzer and Aronov was smiling, laughing and cracking jokes. In another incident a woman was alledgedly given a bedpan after liposuction, not wiped down, then Aronov proceeded with a tummy tuck.

The tribunal was instigated by Aronov who was seeking an easing of conditions on his medical registration imposed six months ago by the national health regulator.

Those conditions prevent him from carrying out cosmetic or surgical procedures, including minor surgery. But they allowed him to continue to work as a GP if supervised by an AHPRA-approved supervisor.

The conditions were imposed a month after a uncovered allegations of troubling practices across Lanzer’s network, including serious hygiene and safety breaches and botched procedures that have left patients in extreme pain and requiring further medical treatment.

But six months on, Aronov’s barrister, Andrew Woods, argues the conditions are tantamount to suspension and have financial ramifications.

He has four children, ages one to seven, and no other means of income, the tribunal was told. He will lose his house… the conditions are unworkable.

To this end, he wanted to dial down the extent of his supervision as a GP to remote supervision as well as be allowed to work as an assistant surgeon to a surgeon who specialises in hernia repair.

He’s a real asset to the community, the tribunal was told by his barrister.

Indeed, in an affidavit, Aronov said in the past few months he had done some serious introspection and personal growth and completed a workshop into different approaches to communication by doctors and patients and where they clash.

However, the barrister for the regulator, Ben Jellis, was having none of it. There are some breathtaking behaviours with respect to surgical procedures by this practitioner, Jellis said.

Allegations included unsanitary practices, not properly consenting patients, poor infection control, people walking in and out of operating theatres while people are under anaesthetic and discouraging critically ill patients from seeing other medical practitioners in the setting of a potential acute event.

Other allegations include signed prescription pads left around the clinic from Aronov and Lanzer and questionable Medicare claims. Lanzer would offer free consultations to patients to see him and would then get the reception staff to write fake referral letters from Aronov to Lanzer then put through Medicare claims without patients knowing, it was alleged.

Then came the jaw-dropping allegation: Filming people under surgery and throwing their body parts around in a way that makes them feel like animals and a piece of meat.

Jellis said there were 19 notifications under investigation, which he considered an unusually large number.

Other conditions that were imposed on Aronov six months ago relate to his social media, including the removal of published material or information relating to cosmetic or surgical procedures on his social media accounts.

with more than 13 million followers. He had more than 500,000 Instagram followers which contained videos of patients being operated on, hundreds of photos of near nude women and explicit lyrics.

He has since shut down his Instagram account and set his TikTok account to private.

One of the allegations raised in the tribunal related to his use of social media. In one case, a female patient who arrived for surgery was allegedly asked by Aronov if he could film her for educational purposes. A professional camera crew was already there, Jellis alleges.

When I arrived, the woman allegedly says. The filthy room, I had to undress in a corner with no privacy. I was so embarrassed I wanted to leave. I lay on the bed freezing, fully naked without a sheet to cover me, no nursing staff present only Aronov talking continuously to the camera, she says.

At one stage he started singing the catchy kids song Baby Shark as blood was dripping from the table. The patient says she flew back to the Gold Coast the next day and was in pain for almost three months. She said in her notification to AHPRA that her stomach and hips are still out of proportion and is embarrassed to undress in front of her partner.

She said when she looked at his social media account two weeks later, Aronov was gloating this was his first solo surgery. . . ‘Look what happens when you leave me on my own, I do surgery,’ she says he said on social media.

Jellis said: On his own is something that presents an unacceptable risk.

The ball is now in the tribunal’s court to decide what happens next to Aronov.

Meanwhile, a series of inquiries into the booming cosmetic surgery industry are underway. But until laws and regulations are changed and the misuse of social media advertising is taken head on the sector will continue to operate like the wild west.

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