Florida plastic surgeon arrested months after wife dies following procedure

A northwest Florida plastic surgeon was arrested more than six months after his wife died following procedures he performed on her in his office, authorities said Monday.

Benjamin Jacob Brown, 41, was arrested Monday on a charge of second-degree manslaughter: manslaughter by culpable negligence, the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Dr. Benjamin Brun

Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office

Deputies were called to reinstate plastic surgery in Gulf Breeze in November. On Dec. 21, 2023, for a report of a medical emergency, they discovered his wife, Hillary Ellington Brown, had suffered cardiac arrest and was taken to a local hospital, officials said.

She was placed on life support and died a week later in November. 28, 2023.

The sheriff’s office said Brown was arrested Monday after an “extensive investigation” in conjunction with the medical examiner’s office and the state’s attorney’s office. He was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.

The Pensacola News Journal reported that authorities determined that Hillary Brown “exhibited signs of lidocaine toxicity” during procedures that included muscle repair, abdominal scar revision, bilateral arm liposuction and injection in the lips.

Hillary Ellington Brown

Rose Lawn Funeral Home

According to the newspaper, a Florida Department of Health investigation concluded that Brown did not immediately call 911 after his wife became unresponsive, and that he also waited at least 10 minutes before beginning CPR.

The Health Department also said Brown engaged in “medical malpractice” by performing unauthorized procedures on patients and failing to follow sterility protocols, the Pensacola News Journal previously reported.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives are continuing their investigation into the death of Hilary Brown.

“In accordance with our policies and procedures, SRSO investigators frequently conduct death investigations when the death was unexpected or occurs under unusual circumstances,” the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities said the cause and manner of death were awaiting receipt of the autopsy protocol from the medical examiner’s office. This process can take several months as it involves extensive laboratory and toxicology testing.

Marty Ellington, Hillary Brown’s father, told the Pensacola News Journal that his daughter died because of “a reckless individual.”

“His ego and arrogance overshadowed the need for help, prolonging the oxygen deprivation of his brain and ultimately causing his death,” Ellington told the newspaper. “Ben Brown took the mother of my grandchildren, my only daughter and our brightest star.”

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