Eve Stewart says she's not a doctor, but has been performing cosmetic procedures for the last seven years. She says it's legal because a doctor has delegated her to do it. Judy Trinh/CBC
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An Ottawa woman says she’s doing nothing illegal by doing low-cost cosmetic procedures at her west-end home, even though she’s not a doctor.
Eve Stewart runs Eve’s Laser Clinic out of her Nepean home, where she has been doing laser treatments for seven years and other kinds of procedures like facelifts and Botox for two years. She once performed a rhinoplasty surgery to repair the tip of a client’s nose.
She said she’s not a licensed physician, but has been delegated to perform these procedures by a doctor, so it’s legal.
“I am abiding by all the laws, all the rules that they have,” Stewart said Wednesday.
“If they want me to stop what I’m doing, all they have to do is show me the law that says I’m breaking it and I’ll stop.”
Stewart added that the doctor, who she wouldn’t name, does sometimes provide her with prescriptions for anesthetics.
Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons is the body that can inspect the work and workplace of physicians.
It said it is unaware of a physician working at Eve’s Laser Clinic in Ottawa, but it is legal for an "appropriately trained" person to perform medical acts considered "controlled acts" if they have been delegated by a physician.
A spokesperson for the college said complaints about the clinic are being investigated.
Procedures cost much less than usual
Stewart said she used to be a counsellor before opening the clinic about seven years ago.
She said the advantage of her clinic is the cost, as she gives facelifts for about one-fifth of the $14,000 a cosmetic surgeon would charge.
“People who have the money to spend $15,000 or $20,000 on a procedure are not going to come here; they don’t want to come here and I don’t want them to come here,” she said.
“I get the people who can’t afford that kind of money, who want to have the difference and they get the difference. And it’s nice.”
She said she always gets her clients to check with their family doctor first to make sure there are no problems having treatment with any medication they might be taking, but otherwise there are no dangers to the procedures she does and nobody has suffered adverse effects.
Stewart said she gets different doctors to train her on the different procedures.
'A disaster waiting to happen'
An Ottawa doctor who works as a trainer for the College of Physicians and Surgeons said he’s “appalled” by what Stewart said she’s doing.
Dr. Gregory Antoniak is a face surgeon who does cosmetic procedures and also works for the Ottawa Hospital.
He said there’s no such thing as a risk-free surgery, especially rhinoplasty.
“Rhinoplasty is considered, technically, one of the most difficult types of surgery that can have serious complications. It should be done in a regulated area with backup in case of emergencies,” he said.
“Something like that, compared to a regulated clinic, is a disaster waiting to happen, I think.”
Antoniak said the “silhouette” facelift advertised by Stewart was given up three to four years ago because it was not very effective, there were problems with side-effects and the threads for the procedure were taken off the market in Canada.
He also said if a doctor is helping Stewart get her medical supplies and supervising her, he or she is breaching their duties.
Passed late 2013 inspection
Ottawa Public Health says it were made aware of the clinic in 2012.
“[We] conducted an inspection and provided some recommendations and operator education to ensure infection prevention and control requirements were met, and conducted a followup inspection,” said Siobhan Kearns, manager of the Environmental Health Protection Branch.
“During the most recent inspection in late 2013, this premise was in compliance and met best-practice guidelines.”
Kearns said in the statement that the Ottawa Board of Health dedicated $200,000 in its 2014 budget to “address the emerging public safety issue related to infection prevention and control practices in personal-service settings.”
Health Canada said they regulate drugs and devices, but not who administers them.