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Egypt: Unqualified beauty practitioners kill and maim patients

BBC investigation reveals how unqualified practitioners in Egypt's beauty industry are risking patients' lives
Dr Ashraf Gad from the British Egyptian Centre training people with no medical experience to perform Botox injections and dermal fillers (BBC handout)

Practitioners with fake qualifications in the Egyptian beauty industry in Egypt are performing Botox and dermal filler injections leaving patients dead or seriously wounded, according to a BBC News investigation published on Tuesday.

The BBC found dozens of unqualified workers with no medical experience performing aesthetic treatments that left many clients with burns and scars, with one woman dying after an unsafe liposuction procedure. 

Only dermatologists and plastic surgeons can perform Botox and dermal filler injections in Egypt, and for laser hair removal a qualified doctor must be there to supervise.

BBC journalists were accepted as trainees by Gad, head of the British Egyptian Centre, even though they made it clear they didn't have any medical experience. 

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Mohamed Madany, who delivered the three-day training that "qualified" the attendees to perform injections, told them to lead the client to believe they are doctors. 

“If [a client] addresses you as “doctor”, don’t say “no”, let her assume whatever she wants,” said Madany. 

The investigation also found medical students carrying out laser hair removal with no supervision. 

Menna El Sayied, a 20-year-old law student, was told by doctors that she needed to lose weight before they operated on her and suggested she get liposuction. The patient died nine days after the doctor performed the surgery where they removed over 35 kilograms of the student's body fat. 

According to experts spoken to by the BBC, the standard practice is to remove five to six kilograms at a time. 

The doctor who operated said he made no mistakes in the surgery and refused to comment further on the case citing patient confidentiality. 

The documentary "Beauty's Ugly Truth" is available from Tuesday on the BBC's YouTube channel and BBC TV.

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