Plastic Surgeon Allegedly Refused To Call 911 While Wife Seized During Procedures

A Florida plastic surgeon turned himself in on Monday after authorities said he refused to call 911 while his wife was experiencing a seizure as he operated on her at his office in Pensacola last November.

Benjamin Jacob Brown, 41, was booked on suspicion of second-degree felony homicide: manslaughter by culpable negligence in the death of his wife, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office announced. Hillary Ellington Brown, 33, died at a local hospital after having a heart attack.

On the morning of Nov. 21, 2023, Brown was scheduled to undergo multiple cosmetic procedures at her husband’s business, Restore Plastic Surgery, including a miniature muscle plication/abdominal scar revision and lip injections, according to an administrative complaint filed by the Florida Department of Health and obtained by HuffPost.

Staff members at Restore Plastic Surgery detailed the events leading up to Hillary Brown’s seizure in interviews with detectives, according to an unredacted arrest warrant obtained by HuffPost. They said she had ingested a “handful” of pills before her procedure.

During the surgery, the anesthesia that Hillary Brown was receiving through IV bags ran out, according to staff members. Benjamin Brown then instructed employees to pour “two containers into a bowl” without diluting the contents and to inject the solution into his wife’s arms and face, the warrant states.

Prosecutors identified the undiluted solution in the bowl as Xylocaine, a brand name of the local anesthetic lidocaine. According to the arrest warrant, the medical examiner determined that Hillary Brown died from complications from lidocaine toxicity, and alleged that Benjamin Brown did not document injecting undiluted lidocaine into his wife’s arm.

Hillary Ellington Brown, 33, died last November after her plastic surgeon husband operated on her and allegedly refused to call 911 when she showed signs of a seizure.
Hillary Ellington Brown, 33, died last November after her plastic surgeon husband operated on her and allegedly refused to call 911 when she showed signs of a seizure. Instagram

Prosecutors also allege that Benjamin Brown allowed his wife to suture her own skin back together at one point during her surgery. According to witnesses, she “became restless and her feet began twitching,” which worsened as her husband performed liposuction on her arm.

By 3:30 p.m., Benjamin Brown began operating on his wife’s face and injected her lips and eyes with what was apparently undiluted lidocaine, according to an employee’s account cited in the arrest warrant. At this point, Hillary Brown allegedly began complaining that she was seeing orange. Once her husband began injections into her right eye, she started to have a seizure, the staff member said.

Another staff member told detectives that she was showing signs of overdosing and began “convulsing.”

Several employees asked if they should call 911, but said Benjamin Brown told them to wait because he “wanted to try and do it himself,” according to the arrest warrant. One staff member told detectives that they did not have supplies to provide Hillary Brown with additional oxygen or an EKG to monitor her heart rate in the room.

Another employee told detectives “there should have been” a crash cart in the room containing supplies and equipment for emergencies and confirmed that the room did not contain any life-saving devices.

A medical assistant eventually called 911 between 10 and 20 minutes after Hillary Brown appeared to show signs of a seizure, according to the complaint. Deputies responded, and first responders attempted to save Brown’s life.

Brown was taken to the emergency room, where her condition stabilized, but she was later taken to an intensive care unit at a separate hospital, according to the warrant, and never regained consciousness. She died a week later.

Marty Ellington, Hillary Brown’s father, told the Pensacola News Journal that he blames his daughter’s death on his son-in-law’s carelessness.

“His ego and arrogance overshadowed the need for help, prolonging oxygen deprivation to her brain and ultimately causing her death,” Ellington told the outlet.

He said his daughter was unhappy in her marriage and that her husband was more concerned with his finances than her life while she was in the hospital.

“Apparently his insurance was canceled on Nov. 30,” Ellington told the outlet. “He sent me a text that we need to make sure that her time of death is before the 30th because the insurance benefits go away and my grandkids wouldn’t get some of the life insurance.”

Benjamin Brown’s attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.