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Florida plastic surgeon arrested after wife died following procedure

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A plastic surgeon in northwest Florida has been arrested more than six months after his wife died after she went into cardiac arrest while he was performing procedures on her, authorities announced Monday.

Benjamin Jacob Brown, 41, was arrested Monday for second-degree felony homicide: manslaughter by culpable negligence, the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Deputies were called to Restore Plastic Surgery in Gulf Breeze on Nov. 21, 2023, for a report of a medical emergency, and they found that his wife, Hillary Ellington Brown, had suffered cardiac arrest and was taken to a local hospital, officials said.

She was put on life support and died a week later on Nov. 28, 2023.

The sheriff’s office announced Brown was arrested Monday after an “extensive investigation” in conjunction with the medical examiner’s office and the state attorney’s office. He was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.

The Pensacola News Journal reported that officials determined Hillary Brown “showed signs of lidocaine toxicity” during procedures that included a muscle repair, abdominal scar revision, bilateral arm liposuction and a lip injection.

According to the newspaper, a Florida Health Department investigation concluded that Brown did not immediately call 911 after his wife became unresponsive, and he also waited at least 10 minutes before beginning CPR.

The health department also said Brown engaged in “medical malpractice”  by performing unauthorized procedures on patients and not following sterility protocols, the Pensacola News Journal previously reported.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives were continuing to investigate Hilary Brown’s death.

“In accordance with our policies and procedures, SRSO investigators frequently conduct death investigations when the death was unexpected or the death occurs under unusual circumstances,” the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the cause and manner of death is pending the receipt of the autopsy protocol from the medical examiner’s office. That process can take several months as it involves extensive laboratory and toxicology tests.

Marty Ellington, Hillary Brown’s father, told the Pensacola News Journal that his daughter died because of “one careless individual.”

“His ego and arrogance overshadowed the need for help, prolonging oxygen deprivation to her brain and ultimately causing her death,” Ellington told the newspaper. “Ben Brown took the mother from my grandchildren, my only daughter and our brightest star.”

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