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Cosmetic patient sues doctor, nurse after Restylane injection left her blind in one eye

Dr. Christopher Khorsandi, Nurse Diane Hamu, VIP Plastic Surgery named in lawsuit
Crystal Touch after attempt to fix botched procedure
Posted at 5:32 PM, Feb 27, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — What was supposed to be a minor cosmetic injection procedure turned into a medical nightmare for a patient whose life is forever changed.

"When I look in the mirror, I don't even recognize myself," said Crystal Touch.

She no longer sees herself the same way. From her left eye, she no longer sees.

"I could actually feel it dying. I have no feeling of it blinking. My perception is different. I see nothing at all. Nothing. It's just dark."

On December 2, 2021 Crystal went to VIP Plastic Surgery on Sunridge Heights Pkwy. in Henderson.

"What I was trying to get done was a non-surgical rhinoplasty, which is getting injected in my nose."

An injection of hyaluronic acid under the brand name Restylane.

The goal was to improve the aesthetic contour of her nose.

"My bridge would be built up. My tip would be lifted," she said, explaining what's referred to in the industry as a Tinkerbell lift. "Nothing was explained to me that I will... The side effects of going blind!"

Medical expert Dr. Philip Robb says fillers like Restylane, "Especially when performed in the nasal area... Present serious risks that are not generally known by patients."

Veins running through the nose supply blood and oxygen to the eyes, as explained in Saban Y, Andretto Amodeo C et al. Nasal vascularisation: Medical and Surgical applications. Arch Facial Plast Surg 2012; June 18:1-8.

As the scientific paper further explains, "If you occlude it, which is what a filler can do, it's like a stroke. You're having a stroke to the eye," said Attorney Dan Carvalho, who's representing Crystal in her lawsuit against VIP Plastic Surgery, which is owned and operated by Dr. Christopher Khorsandi.

Crystal is suing Khorsandi and Registered Nurse Diane Hamu, who, according to the lawsuit, performed the procedure on her own.

On her Instagram page, Hamu advertises herself as a "Master aesthetic injector."

"Immediately when she injected the tip of my nose, I felt it shoot straight up to my left eye," Crystal recalls. "And she seen that something was wrong because I started tearing up and I started squinting. And I told her I couldn't see. And I felt a little pain. But as she kept injecting, she said, 'that's fine,' and as she kept injecting, the pain kept progressing. And that's when I started crying. I said, 'I can't do it no more, it's hurting.' And then she left me."

The lawsuit says Nurse Hamu left to get Dr. Khorsandi, who should have been involved all along.

"What happened here is there was a nurse masquerading as a licensed practitioner, and Dr. Khorsandi has delegated all of his obligations and responsibilities to the patient to a non-practitioner," said Carvalho.

In his declaration to the court for Crystal's case, Dr. Robb quotes a publication from the Nevada State Board of Nursing.

He explains that under Nevada law, "A nurse such as Diane Hamu cannot prescribe, self-furnish, and thereafter self-administer Restylane injection to a patient as she did here. In the case of Crystal Touch, the licensed MD must actually examine the patient, and the Nurse must have the MD's prescription/order following the exam, and the MD must maintain control of the cosmetic medications and monitor access by the nurse."

"Not only did this patient not get the physician consult that was required prior to the procedure, she didn't get the immediate physician intervention that's necessary after the complication arises," said Carvalho.

"What was your interaction with Dr. Khorsandi?" Darcy Spears asked.

"None," Crystal answered. "It was only after the fact that I went blind."

According to the complaint, Crystal's medical records show she had a 10 a.m. appointment.

Khorsandi's notes in the record say "Nurse Hamu 'came into my office around or between 11-11:30 a.m. and went into my medicine refrigerator while I was in a meeting' and that thereafter at '11:53 a.m.... my medical assistant notified me that there was a medical emergency, that patient was being injected by Diane and now could not see out of [one] eye'."

Crystal says Khorsandi, "Came in agitated. I felt like I was treated like an animal. Like he was yelling at me. He was trying to fix whatever Diane did. Because I waited... I waited a long time, and I begged him to take me to the ER for a long time. And when he came, he kept yelling at me, screaming at me 'Open your eyes'!"

A photo taken later that day shows an incision on the bridge of her nose. Carvalho explains the scar is from Dr. Khorsandi using a scalpel to open and inject medicine in an attempt to treat the problem.

"All I wanted was his help because he was a doctor. But instead, he treated me like I was a burden."

Khorsandi declined an on-camera interview. His office sent a statement saying, "Dr. Khorsandi was not the practitioner who performed the treatment. He looks forward to defending this lawsuit in a court of law."

Diane Hamu no longer works at VIP Plastic Surgery. She is still licensed and practicing at another cosmetic clinic in the valley.

13 Investigates tracked down her cell number and she did call back after we left a voicemail message and sent a text. When we explained why we reached out, she said she couldn't talk because she was at work. We asked her to call back but she never did, and then she stopped responding to subsequent calls and text messages.

13 Investigates learned Hamu's career got off to a bumpy start. Public records show she was disciplined by the state in 1998, publicly reprimanded for submitting false information related to her license renewal.

While Crystal waits for her day in court with both Hamu and Khorsandi, she continues to re-learn basic functions.

"My ophthalmologist told me that as the year progresses, I have to watch it, I might get cross-eyed."

Her altered perception causes her to bump into walls at home.

"I have to go to a center of blindness to learn how to drive again."

And she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to trust medical professionals again.

"They took that trust from me, the respect that I have for doctors."

Words echoed by another of Dr. Khorsandi's patients who previously told 13 Investigates she'd never regain trust in the medical system.

"Just because of everything that happened. Could it happen again?"

We first shared Ashleigh Cope's story in November 2020.

She'd gone to VIP Plastic Surgery to have Khorsandi fix a complication from a previous breast enhancement.

"I go back to that day that I went and wish that I didn't go," Ashleigh said.

The then-23-year-old nearly died from necrotizing fascitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria.

According to her lawsuit against Khorsandi, the infection most likely came from an unsterile environment or improperly sanitized equipment at his office.

In court records, Khorsandi denies any allegations of wrongdoing, stating he met the standard of care and did not cause harm.

That case is set for trial next year.

Khorsandi recently settled two other malpractice cases out of court for undisclosed amounts.

As for Crystal, she hopes her story will help others who are considering cosmetic procedures.

"What message do you have for people out there like yourself who just want to do something to make themselves feel prettier?" Spears asked.

"You need to find beauty within yourself."

Dr. Khorsandi is still licensed and practicing with no public disciplinary record.

The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners is aware of all the lawsuits against him but would neither confirm nor deny whether the state is doing its own investigation.

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