Plastic surgeon charged with killing wife during cosmetic procedures

Posted at 11:47 AM, June 18, 2024 and last updated 9:55 AM, June 19, 2024

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (Court TV) — A doctor licensed to practice in several states has been arrested in Florida on charges he killed his wife while performing cosmetic procedures on her.

Benjamin Brown

Benjamin Brown is charged in the death of his wife, who passed away during cosmetic procedures. (Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office)

Dr. Benjamin Brown is charged with a second-degree felony homicide: manslaughter by culpable negligence for the death of his wife, Hillary Ellington Brown.

Hillary was taken to the hospital on Nov. 21, 2023, after suffering a medical emergency at her husband’s medical office, and died in the hospital a week later on Nov. 28.

The Florida Department of Health suspended Benjamin’s medical license in May, citing not only Hillary’s death but other instances of alleged malpractice. Court TV reviewed the administrative complaint filed by the state, which details the procedure that led to Hillary’s death.

Investigators said that Hillary was at her husband’s office, Restore Plastic Surgery, to receive muscle plication (a procedure to strengthen muscles), liposuction on her arms, lip injections and “ear adjustment procedures.” On the morning of Nov. 21, Hillary allegedly prepared her own IV solution and placed it into IV bags, despite the fact that she had no medical training or license.

The complaint notes Benjamin’s alleged failure to properly document what medications Hillary was taking, saying she “ingested a ‘handful’ of multi-colored pills, which included Valium,” before showing signs of sedation. After the muscle plication, Hillary allegedly “assisted in her own procedure by suturing the skin back together. During this portion of the procedure, [Hillary] became restless and her feet began twitching.” Despite this, Benjamin allegedly continued doing procedures, injecting his wife with more anesthetic and continuing to do a liposuction. At that point, Hillary said her vision began to blur and she told her husband she saw “orange,” before having a seizure and becoming unresponsive.

“A medical assistant asked Responded if they should call 911 and Respondent said ‘no.’ Over the next 10-20 minutes, a medical assistant asked Respondent if they should call 911 and Respondent said ‘no,’ or ‘wait.'”

After approximately 20 minutes, Benjamin began CPR and the medical assistant called 911. Hillary was taken to the hospital in cardiac arrest with elevated lactic acid level and “suspected lidocaine toxicity.” She never regained consciousness.

The administrative complaint revealed two women had filed complaints against the doctor alleging that he had given them gluteal fat injections (also known as Brazilian Butt Lifts, or BBL) despite their explicit statements saying they did not want the procedure done. Those procedures were done in 2021 and 2022, with Hillary acting as an unlicensed assistant in at least one procedure.

Benjamin is also licensed as a medical provider in the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Virginia, according to state records.