Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

A New Day

Posted August 15, 2007 5:59 p.m. EDT

Losing a child is a tragedy, but losing a child to an accident, something that could have been prevented, is a tragedy squared.

On January 5, 2005, Shiri Berg died in her car on the way to receive laser hair removal on her legs.  She overdosed on a numbing cream called lidocaine that she had liberally applied to the area she was about to have treated.  Prior to receiving the powerful cream, she was never examined by a doctor, never received a prescription in her name, and was not instructed on how to safely use it.

Today the North Carolina Medical Board reprimanded the doctor who purchased the cream for the clinic and developed a protocol for its use.   In 2005 the doctor who was the medical director at the time Berg died was also sanctioned.  The Board has since deemed what was once considered a cosmetic procedure a "medical procedure."  A state law passed August 2 increases the amount of training and oversight people who perform the procedure must have. 

So in the two-and-a-half years since Berg's death many changes have been made to the procedure to make it safer for the consumer.   Her death has also created a great deal of awareness about the seriousness of any procedure that we choose to undergo, even one most of us think of as cosmetic.

None of this will bring Berg back.  None of this will ease her family's pain.  But just maybe, just maybe, the changes will prevent something like this from happening again. 

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.