‘Beauty consultant’ arrested after butt injections kill St. Louis woman

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ST. LOUIS — An unlicensed “beauty consultant” in Houston was arrested this week for providing silicone butt injections to a St. Louis woman who police said later died from the botched procedure. 

Lisa Fernandez, 47, was charged with manslaughter Tuesday in the 2018 death of 38-year-old Marja McClendon. Prosecutors said McClendon traveled from St. Louis to Houston to receive her first round of injections at Fernandez’s apartment on April 24, 2018. 

McClendon felt sick after the procedure and asked for a refund, but Fernandez refused, the Houston Chronicle reported. So, the 38-year-old returned the next day for her second round of injections. 

A witness told authorities Fernandez had to stop the second procedure multiple times because McClendon was in severe pain, had trouble breathing, and started coughing up blood. 

She eventually went to the emergency room but left before doctors completed her medical evaluation, according to court documents obtained by KHOU-TV. When McClendon returned home, she went to Saint Louis University Hospital, where she died soon after on April 30, 2018. 

Medical examiners ruled McClendon died from a “silicone pulmonary embolism,” which prompted homicide detectives to investigate. An embolism is the blockage of a blood vessel. 

Fernandez was arrested following a traffic stop on Tuesday, three years after McClendon’s death. While in police custody, Fernandez admitted to the incident and told investigators she was not licensed to provide the injections. Prosecutors said she had been working out of her home since 2004. 

The self-titled beauty consultant was arraigned Wednesday in Harris County, Texas. A judge set Fernandez’s bail at $40,000 and denied her a personal bond. 

Harris County Assistant District Attorney said there might be other victims and urged them to come forward.

“We are concerned — cause this is a trend right now to receive buttock injections — that there may be other victims. We would encourage anyone to come forward who has received buttock injections,” said Ta during the hearing.

FDA warns against silicone injections 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against using injectable silicone for body contouring because it can lead to long-term pain, infections, serious injuries, stroke, and death. 

“Injectable silicone is permanent and stays in your body,” the FDA posted on its website. “In fact, when injected into areas with many blood vessels, such as the buttocks, silicone can travel through those vessels to other parts of the body and block blood vessels in the lungs, heart, or brain.”

Injecting silicone into the body can also result in a painful and hard, gravel-like substance that stays permanently beneath the skin. Side effects can occur years later. 

The FDA provided the following safety tips: 

  1. Never get any type of filler or liquid silicone injected for body contouring or enhancement. 
  2. Never buy dermal fillers on the Internet. They may be fake, contaminated, or harmful.
  3. Never get injectable fillers from unlicensed providers or in non-medical settings like hotels or private homes.
  4. Always work with a licensed health care provider who uses FDA-approved products for treatments. 

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