Originally published in the Herald Sun
An international search is on for a cosmetic surgeon after a Melbourne woman claimed she was left in constant pain and unable to close her eyes following an eyelift gone wrong.
Mikhail Soutorine is accused of cutting “slabs of skin” off Stefanie Cuffe’s eyelids without the relevant qualifications or training to do so.
Ms Cuffe said what was supposed to be a minor surgery to help her feel “more youthful” on her 50th birthday in 2017 changed her life.
“I’m not the same woman I was before,” she said. “When I go out, people stare. Every day I look forward to going to bed so it can all be over.”
Lawyers acting for Ms Cuffe have hired private investigators to find Dr Soutorine after he moved overseas. The Russian-born doctor was hauled before the medical watchdog in 2019 after two WA women suffered complications following botched tummy tucks.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency suspended his licence amid an investigation. In February last year, Dr Soutorine abandoned a bid to continue practising and left the country.
Ms Cuffe launched legal proceedings this month over her 2017 surgery. The beautician claims she first attended his Moorabbin clinic in October that year and was promised she would get “great results”.
“He said he had 30 years of experience and I knew he had been doing tummy tucks so I thought, ‘How hard can a little eyelift be?’” Ms Cuffe said.
After the surgery Ms Cuffe told him she was unhappy with the results. She claims he offered to “redo” the procedure. This was when things went really wrong, she claimed.
“He didn’t take measurements or anything, he just grabbed the scalpel and took off slabs of skin,” she claimed.
She immediately realised something had gone very wrong but said she was assured that “everything would be all right”. Ms Cuffe claims she tried to speak to Dr Soutorine for weeks but he stopped returning her calls and eventually changed his number.
“I trusted him, he did the wrong thing,” she said.
Special counsel Paula Shelton from Adviceline Injury Lawyers said: “We will find him and track him down, but it shouldn’t be this hard.”