Authorities Charge Plastic Surgeon With Manslaughter After Wife Dies Following Surgery

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A plastic surgeon in the Florida panhandle faces a manslaughter charge regarding his wife’s post-surgery death, authorities announced Monday.

Officers of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office (SRCSO) arrested and charged Dr. Benjamin Brown, 41, with “manslaughter by Culpable Negligence” Monday, the SRCSO said. The arrest followed “an extensive investigation in conjunction with the District One Medical Examiner’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office” into the Nov. 28, 2023 death of Hillary Ellington Brown, according to the statement.

Hillary Brown went into cardiac arrest at Brown’s hospital, Restore Plastic Surgery, Nov. 21, 2023, according to the statement. SRCSO deputies who responded to the emergency helped transport her to a local hospital, where she was placed on life support and later died, the statement noted.

Brown remains in custody until his “first appearance where a bond will be determined by a judge and State Attorney’s Office,” the SRCSO said.

The investigation into the cause and manner of death—warranted “when the death was unexpected or the death occurs under unusual circumstances”—began after Hillary Brown’s death, is ongoing, and usually takes several months, according to the SRCSO. (RELATED: Plastic Surgeon Gets 15-Day Sentence For Leaving Woman For 5 Hours With 7 Times Amount Of Anesthesia Needed For Op)

Brown was operating on Hillary Brown just before she experienced seizures and then suffered a cardiac arrest, the Pensacola News Journal (PNJ) reported. The 9-1-1 call note indicated Hillary Brown was “overmedicated”, according to the outlet.

Brown reportedly announced via social media Nov. 24, 2023: “We need prayers for a miracle. Hillary had a cardiac arrest on Tuesday afternoon. We called 911 and started CPR. Her heart came back but her brain is not doing well. She has been in a coma since she went unconscious on Tuesday. Hillary Ellington Brown you are my soulmate, my world, my everything. Please come back. Please!”

“We want answers,” an aggrieved Marty Ellington—the deceased’s father—said, according to the New York Post. “We haven’t been given answers. If it’s a mistake, it was a mistake, but it doesn’t bring my daughter back.”

“I don’t want his money. I don’t want anything. All I want is an answer because I think that we owe that to my daughter,” he reportedly added.

Brown reportedly told Marty and his wife Dixie Ellington that he had run out of the medication he usually used and thus had put Hillary on a different one. Marty Ellington reportedly queried why Brown did not have more staff and emergency equipment to handle the situation.

Marty and Dixie Ellington also alleged that Brown also had Hillary Brown perform procedures on other patients that she was not qualified to perform, PNJ reported.

Former patient Wendy Carden alleged in a still-open lawsuit that Brown unilaterally used “foreign materials” in a post-mastectomy reconstructive breast surgery on her, occasioning infection and sepsis, according to PNJ.

Some other patients also made troubling allegations, with one saying in part, “[T]hat man has to be stopped,” according to a separate PNJ report.

Republican Pensacola Rep. Michelle Salzman reportedly considered the complaints from former patients and employees of Brown and pushed for an investigation by the Florida Department of Health.

Google lists Restore Plastic Surgery, based in Gulf Breeze, as “Permanently closed”.