Genesis Plastic Surgery Davenport Iowa – A physician’s assistant whose license was reinstated in March after allegations of domestic violence and sex with a patient was arraigned Friday on new domestic violence charges. (Creative Commons photo via Pxhere)
A Davenport cosmetic surgeon with a history of malpractice is challenging state penalties for alleged incompetence and taking the case to the Iowa Supreme Court.
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Doctor. Leeroy L. Yates Jr., a 65-year-old gynecologist who practiced cosmetic surgery in Davenport, was barred from performing such procedures by the Iowa State Board of Medicine until his certification level is upgraded.
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Earlier this year, Yates sued the board, seeking a judicial review of its actions. Polk County District Court Judge Jeanie Vodt recently ruled in favor of the board and upheld Yates’ practice limits. The Iowa Capital Dispatch could not reach Yates for comment, but he is currently appealing the judge’s decision in the Iowa Supreme Court.
Because of Yates’ legal challenge, information from peer-reviewed medical journals that would normally be confidential is now publicly available. Information obtained from investigations of Yates’ practice by other physicians sheds new light on the board’s rationale for restricting Yates’ practice.
According to the records, one reviewer told the board it was a “miracle” that some of Yates’ patients did not die, while others said Yates’ medical knowledge was “marginally inadequate” with serious deficiencies in certain areas.
For several years, Yates operated the Diamond Medical Spa and Vein Clinic in Davenport, performing more than 600 liposuction, breast augmentation and “Brazilian buttock lifts,” according to state documents. In early 2015, the Medical Board received four complaints — three from plastic surgeons and one from a patient — questioning Yates’ surgical competence or patient care. The board then asked case managers to review 11 patient charts.
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One of the resulting reports concluded that Yates’ patients suffered an “unacceptable” number of serious complications—infections, abscesses, strokes, deformities, etc.—even in cases of cosmetic surgery that should have been routine.
According to court records, one reviewer wrote, “It is a miracle that there was no anesthetic complication that resulted in death due to the extensive liposuction and deep sedation involved in most of these cases.”
Records also show that Dr. Mark Mulkey, a Mason City plastic surgeon, was asked by the board about Yates’ alleged statement that the intravenous dose of morphine and the sedative Versed was a localized form of anesthesia. “I’m a little offended by that — considering most doctors know what anesthesia is,” Mulkey responded, according to court records. “It’s not local anesthesia. You’re an idiot if you think it is.”
In court filings, the board argued that “every single complication” in the cases reviewed by the reviewers was “life-threatening” to Yates’ patients. The board said the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians reviewed Yates’ treatment and concluded that he “demonstrated medical knowledge that was marginally adequate with some significant deficiencies.”
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The center also argued that Yates’ “clinical judgment and reasoning were inadequate, with significant deficiencies in areas such as his ability to gather information logically and fully (and) understand his own limitations.”
In April 2013, one of those patients, identified in court documents as “P.W.”, had liposuction and breast augmentation by Yates using fat transfer. The patient developed an infection, and experts later concluded that she was a poor candidate for therapy. . surgery due to a weakened immune system and a history of breast cancer.
In 2016, Yates allegedly had his first meeting with another patient, “AL,” in a Las Vegas hotel room, arranging a fat transfer “consultation” that was later performed at his clinic in Davenport. The operation reportedly began at 10:15 a.m. and ended just after 7:00 p.m. on the same day, the patient complains of severe pain throughout the procedure. Around midnight, Yates allegedly helped A.L. into the car, and then took her to his house, where he watched over her all night. Experts later claimed that Yates provided an inadequate level of care during the operation and accused him of choosing to monitor the patient at home rather than send her to hospital.
In 2013, Yates allegedly performed liposuction on an obese patient, “S.K.”, and transferred fat from the woman’s legs and abdomen to her buttocks. During the procedure, Yates allegedly removed 10 liters of fat from the woman’s body, and a few weeks later Yates removed another nine liters of fat. Litigants later claimed that during each procedure, Yates removed far more fat from a patient than the five liters recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
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Medical Board records show that in 1999, Yates opened a private practice in Florida, where he began offering cosmetic procedures and weight loss management services. In 2002, Yates came to Iowa, where he spent the next 10 years as a staff physician at Genesis Health Group in Davenport.
In 2012, Yates opened Diamond Medical Spa and Vein Clinic. The Medical Board later alleged that Yates placed a special ad in his clinic’s waiting room designed to look like an independent publication called Radiant Life: The Aesthetic Wellness Magazine, featuring him on the cover with an “article” inside. his clinic.
Court records show that while Yates told the court he had never been the subject of a complaint or lawsuit before the board filed suit against him, he had been sued numerous times in state court, though the terms of any out-of-court settlements that arose of these unknown claims:
In July 2016, the medical board filed a lengthy statement of allegations against Yates, alleging that he failed to provide adequate cosmetic surgery care to several patients in Davenport between 2013 and 2015. The board argued that Yates did not have adequate training in cosmetic surgery; delegation of anesthesiology services to unqualified medical personnel; improperly performed cosmetic surgical procedures under intravenous sedation in dangerous office conditions; performed cosmetic operations on patients who were not suitable for such procedures; it was not possible to keep adequate medical and anesthetic documentation; and failed to provide adequate follow-up care.
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Yates was also accused of failing to receive proper hospital privileges; performance of a large volume of liposuction procedures under intravenous sedation in office conditions without proper supervision; performed surgery on a member of his immediate family; made misleading, deceptive or false statements about his competence, difficulty level and success rates; and used false or implausible claims in advertising.
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Associate Editor Clark Kaufman has spent the past 30 years as an investigative reporter and editorial writer for two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has received numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.