A Maryland woman who traveled to New York City with her mother for a dangerous and illegal cosmetic procedure died after apparently suffering an adverse reaction to a substance that was injected into her buttocks.
Kelly Mayhew, 34, died Saturday after receiving butt injections in a Queens basement, according to police. Her mother told WUSA that Mayhew had trouble breathing shortly after a woman allegedly posing as a doctor injected her with liquid silicone.
Mayhew, who celebrated her curvy figure on her social media accounts, had had five previous butt enlargement procedures, her mother told police. Latrice Mayhew said she didn't know the woman administering the procedure on Saturday evening wasn't licensed to do so.
"I thought she was a doctor and certified," Latrice Mayhew told NBC New York. But when things went wrong, the quack doctor's facade crumbled.
The victim's mother said the phony doctor "panicked," then fled after Mayhew started gurgling and struggling to breathe. Police haven't yet released a description of the suspect, but the victim's mother said she drove away in a gray SUV.
She called 911 in the hopes of saving her daughter, and even tried administering CPR herself, according to the New York Daily News.
Mayhew, who worked at BET Networks, was pronounced dead at an area hospital Saturday evening, just hours after getting the botched butt-lift.
"We are saddened by the death of our colleague and friend, Kelly Mayhew. Our hearts go out to her family and we extend our deepest sympathies for their loss," BET said in a statement.
Medical examiners are investigating Mayhew's exact cause of death, but she is not the first woman to die after getting the procedure.
In March, a Texas woman was found dead in a salon after having illegal silicone butt injections.
In 2013, a 22-year-old New York City woman died after receiving a silicone butt injection from a self-described cosmetologist.
In 2012, a person posing as a nurse in Florida was charged with manslaughter after injecting a patient's butt with super glue and canned tire-inflator in a black-market butt enlargement.
Some experts say the dangerous trend has become more common in the past year.
"In the last six months, I've seen a rash of people who've had these injections done who are coming back with problems," Dr. Emeka Onyewu, a Maryland plastic surgeon, told WUSA.
In an editorial for the Daily News, Dr. David Samadi expounded the many risks of liquid silicone injections. He said that cheap prices lure people to the black market cosmetic alternative. These people sometimes saving thousands of dollars, but it's not worth it.
"When liquid silicone is injected freely into the body, it is much more dangerous than when a person gets implants where the silicone gel is confined within a shell," he wrote. "Free silicone injections come with numerous risks."
Those risks include potentially life-threatening complications, kidney failure and pulmonary embolism, according to Dr. Samadi.