Local News

Clinic Tied To N.C. State Student's Death Shuts Down

Posted January 31, 2005

— Shiri Berg got a skin-numbing cream called Lidocaine from Premier Body Laser Clinics in Raleigh. She used the cream in preparation for laser hair removal, but she had a violent reaction and later died. Now, the place where she received the cream is closed.

Disappointed clients showed up Monday for their appointments at Premier Body, but the windows were dark and there was a sign on the door telling customers that the clinic is closed for good. Customers who call heard the same information repeated in a recorded message.

"Regrettably, the company will no longer be able to service clients and will be unable to provide refunds for clients at this time," the recording said.

A brief statement on the door basically said that the negative publicity surrounding Berg's death was a major factor in their decision to close.

The closure comes less than a month after a 22-year-old N.C. State student Shiri Berg died from Lidocaine poisoning. Her attorney said she purchased the numbing cream without a prescription at the clinic and was using it to prepare for laser hair removal.

The North Carolina Medical Board is reviewing procedures for how medical spas operate, but it cannot speak about an ongoing investigation.

"Certainly, I would want everyone to know that when the medical board learns of a death and there's a physician involved, we would always investigate. But, I cannot comment of this particular case," said Thom Mansfield, attorney for the state Medical Board.

Premier had a doctor listed as its medical director, but some doctors who have their own laser hair removal practices believe there is not enough supervision at medical spas.

"Just because there's a doctor who is willing to put his malpractice on the line doesn't mean that there actually is oversight," said Dr. Adam Stein.

However, refunds, not oversight, are on the minds of Premier customers who paid in advance.

"We just found out when we walked up to the door," said Skip Roofner. "I'm not happy about it. We're out $600. I want to know when we're going to get our money back or if we're going to get our money back or what have you."

According to the statement on the door of the facility, there are no plans to offer refunds for those who paid for services.

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