Med Board Stops Employee’s Use Of Fat-Melting Laser On Clients

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The state Medical Examining Board Tuesday ordered an employee of Laser55 of West Hartford to stop using an infrared laser device to heat fat tissue for potential weight loss, saying it constitutes the practice of medicine without a license.

Though the board found that Pamela Borselle of Berlin is certified in using the device, it concluded she is not a doctor and she did not use the device under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. Borselle agreed to a cease and desist order to stop “the unlawful practice of medicine,’’ according to the order approved.

At the same meeting, the board dropped charges against the owner of Laser55, Iyad “Edward” Shaham of West Hartford, because it found that only Borselle, and not Shaham, used the laser device on patients in 2012 and 2013.

Laser55, at 836 Farmington Ave., advertises its services on its website as “Instant Weight Loss that Actually Works!” The medical board’s memorandum of decision states that the business uses the laser on localized areas of the body to warm fat cells under the skin by three to five degrees. The aim is to melt the fat, making it more pliable. Laser55 also places patients on a vibrating platform for 10 minutes – which it claims is equal to one hour of exercise – to burn the fat out.

Laser55 also uses an Amethyst Biomat “made with 17 layers of space-age materials” that gives off infrared energy to detoxify the board, its website states. The website says Laser55 charges $400 a session for treatments with the laser, vibrating platform and biomat.

Shaham did not attend the meeting but said beforehand that the business will comply with the order and that it is remaining open in West Hartford.

The board also fined Dr. Richard Casden, a Danbury ophthalmologist, $5,000 for prescribing Lunesta, which is used to treat insomnia, to his spouse 17 times between 2011 and 2013 without maintaining the proper medical records.

The state Department of Public Health said that in April, it opened its case after being notified by the state Department of Consumer Protection that Casden had entered into an agreement with that agency not to prescribe controlled substances for himself, relatives or friends.

DPH Principal Attorney Matthew Antonetti told the medical board that Casden has already paid the fine.

On Tuesday, the board also imposed a restriction on Dr. Donald Austrian of Oxford that he cannot resume the practice of medicine without advance notice to DPH.

Austrian, a longtime Trumbull internist, was arrested in 2011 and accused of selling prescription painkillers, the Connecticut Post reported. At the time, he closed his practice and surrendered his state registration to prescribe controlled substances, DPH records show.

In 2012, a jury in Superior Court in Bridgeport acquitted Austrian. DPH also accused him of prescribing drugs in 2009 and 2010 to himself and family members without a documented physician-patient relationship. DPH records show that Austrian is limited in his ability to practice medicine due to “significant medical disabilities.”

Dr. Robert A. Green, a board member, asked why a civil penalty – or fine – was not part of the consent order. DPH Staff Attorney David Tilles said a fine did not result from the negotiations with Austrian but he added that the requirement imposed on the doctor is a “realistic remedy under the circumstances.”

In two unrelated cases Tuesday, the board approved cease and desist orders against women providing laser hair removal treatment when it deemed they were practicing medicine without a license.

One of them, Christine Frey of Westport, was accused of burning a patient during a laser treatment at the Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology in Westport.

The state received a complaint about the burns on July 10, 2013 and determined that Frey had provided the laser treatment, records show. Frey admitted that she had operated a laser hair removal device in a physician’s office and engaged in the practice of medicine without a license, the consent order states. Frey’s attorney, James Biondo of Stamford, declined to comment after the meeting.

In the second case Tuesday, Linda Martinez, who advertised herself as a “medical aesthetician” at Skin & Beauty Lounge in Bridgeport, agreed to a cease and desist order by DPH to stop practicing medicine without a license.

In January, DPH received a complaint about Martinez advertising laser hair removal treatment at her business. Investigators determined that she was medically assessing clients and using a laser to perform hair removal and skin rejuvenation treatment, records show.

Antonetti said that Martinez has informed DPH that she has closed her business.

In other business, the board received a proposal to join an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would streamline the process that allows doctors to become licensed in multiple states. Proposed by the Federation of State Medical Boards after 18 months of research, the compact would also allow for the automatic discipline of doctors in all states in the compact if a doctor is disciplined in any single state.

Connecticut and other states that want to join the compact would need to pass legislation in 2015. William Gerrish, a DPH spokesman, said the department is reviewing the proposed compact but has not made any decisions on it.

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