Local News

Former Patients At Raleigh Clinic Not Surprised About Closing

Posted February 1, 2005 4:30 a.m. EST

— A day after announcing it will close, former patients at the Premier Body Laser Clinics sign are coming forward, saying they were not surprised.

Dawn Berkey said she is allergic to most numbing creams. She carries an epi-pen in case she has a reaction and stops breathing. Yet, Berkey alleges an administrator at Premier insisted on testing Lidocaine on her hand before a treatment.

"I tried to tell the lady I'm deathly allergic to Lidocaine. She said it's a different family. It might not be the same family of -caine products," Berkey said. "She went ahead and put Lidocaine all over my hand. By the time I left, my hand had swelled all up."

Berkey said she was devastated to hear about 22-year-old Shiri Berg's death from what appears to be a Lidocaine overdose prior to a treatment at Premier.

"I was mortified. It shouldn't happen to somebody like that. Especially since mine was a few weeks before that," Berkey said. "They saw what I had a reaction to. They should have been a little more careful."

"It's particularly difficult for a family when someone has a routine procedure and at the end of the event, you lose a child forever, said attorney David Kirby, who is representing Berg's family.

A Cary doctor is listed on the company's handout as the on-site medical director, but he left Premier in November. A Raleigh doctor, Ira Uretsky, was the medical director at the time of Berg's death. He will not talk about the case.

Berg's family said it just wants answers.

"The fact that Premier has closed doesn't alter our investigation. We're going to get to the bottom of this and discuss with the family what their recourse is," Kirby said.

Right now, the clinic is not offering refunds to those who paid for services in advance.