Posted on Dec 20, 2006
Fake plastic surgeon maims woman; jury awards her millions
BY SUSANNAH A. NESMITH
Reinaldo SilvestreA woman disfigured by a man pretending to be a licensed plastic surgeon won some measure of justice this week when a jury awarded her $4.6 million.
Reinaldo Silvestre, dubbed the Butcher of South Beach by the television show America's Most Wanted, abruptly abandoned his practice in Miami Beach in 1999. He was arrested five years later in Belize, where he was performing surgeries and even teaching in a medical school.
Silvestre was convicted earlier this year of practicing medicine without a license, grand theft and aggravated battery.
One of his victims, Jinette Bernal, sued Silvestre and the woman who posed as his medical assistant in civil court. The case was tried Monday in front of Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick.
Bernal went to Silvestre to get breast implants but instead, he removed almost all of her breast tissue, leaving her looking as if she had undergone a double mastectomy, her attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, said.
Silvestre represented himself in the case and is currently in prison. He could not be reached for comment.
'He admits to practicing without a license but said that all the complications that people had are explainable things, just complications,' Aronfeld said.
Bernal had to have $100,000 in reconstructive surgery done and was left with dramatic scars, Aronfeld said. The surgery was donated by a local plastic surgeon and Baptist Hospital, but Bernal plans to reimburse them for their expenses if and when she's able to collect the judgment.
Silvestre, 66, is scheduled to be released from prison in 2012.