The board found that while Grawe was performing surgeries, she live-streamed parts of her patients’ procedures on TikTok, spoke into the camera and answered viewer questions from some of her more than 825,000 followers. At least three patients reported having severe complications — infections, a perforated intestine and a loss of brain function — and needing medical care after Grawe operated on them at Roxy Plastic Surgery, her practice in Powell, Ohio, according to the board.
Grawe, whose license was suspended in November, pleaded with the board Wednesday, promising that “I will never live-stream a surgery again.” But it did not sway the board.
“I strongly recommend that there never be a Dr. Roxy or patient one, two or three — and protect the people of the state of Ohio from this reckless physician,” Jonathan Feibel, the vice president of the medical board, said Wednesday, according to WCMH, an NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio.
Grawe, 44, told The Post on Thursday that she was “obviously devastated” over her patients’ complications and the board’s decision to permanently revoke her medical license. But she maintained that live-streaming the surgeries — to anywhere between 100,000 to 500,000 TikTok users per video — did not affect the procedures. Grawe, who is facing lawsuits from the three patients who needed care after she performed surgery on them, also accused the medical board of “bullying” her during her suspension and this week’s hearing.
“Nobody wants a complication, and we never want things to go poorly, but any complications that happened with me were not because I was not paying attention,” Grawe said. “My whole goal in life is to give these people confidence and make them more beautiful. And unfortunately, they suffered these complications, and I feel very sad for them. I would never want anything bad to happen to them.”
Neither Grawe’s attorney, Sabrina Sellers, nor Jim Arnold, the attorney representing the three women suing the plastic surgeon, immediately responded to requests for comment. Grawe has about two weeks to appeal once the board’s order is mailed, Stewart said.
Grawe had been a practicing plastic surgeon in the Columbus area since 2010. She specialized in cosmetic surgery for women’s breasts, such as breast augmentation and lifts, and also offered “mommy makeovers,” and tummy tucks and other procedures, Grawe said. Her schedule was booked with surgeries over the next two years, she said — a lineup that included about 80 to 100 breast augmentations a month and thousands of Brazilian butt lifts annually. A breast augmentation at Roxy Plastic Surgery costs $6,600, while surgeries for a “mommy makeover” — usually a combination of a breast augmentation, tummy tuck and liposuction, among other procedures — can range from $15,000 to $20,000, she said.
During that time, Grawe built up a considerable social media following on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. After years of live-streaming parts of her patients’ surgeries on Snapchat, she shifted to TikTok in hope of “breaking down this scary wall between doctors and patients.” She said patients signed consent forms allowing “Dr. Roxy” to live-stream their procedures to help demystify the secret world around surgeries.
“The stuff we do there is a little bit educational and answering people’s questions, and it’s a little fun and silly,” Grawe said. “And I know people look at that and think it’s unprofessional.”
The Ohio medical board had warned Grawe about live-streaming her surgeries in a letter sent in 2018, cautioning the doctor over “the need to maintain patient privacy when sharing photos or videos via social media.” After the board sent another letter in 2021, Grawe notified the state that she had completed remedial education courses about plastic surgery and “professionalism/ethics,” including a course on “ethical social media.” But she continued live-streaming the procedures through at least October last year, according to the board.
“The one thing that is clear is that she had an intense focus on her TikTok presence,” Arnold said in May to WSYX, an ABC affiliate in Columbus. “I know that it seems like there was an inordinate amount of attention paid to her TikTok presence, and I am told many patients who went to her did so because of her TikTok presence.”
She was suspended in November. The three cases cited by the board in its decision were live-streamed between December 2020 and March 2022.
After Grawe performed liposuction and a Brazilian butt lift on a patient who was under anesthesia in December 2020, the patient said she suffered severe abdominal pain and cramping that forced her to have several surgeries on her stomach. About a year later, a patient who had a breast augmentation was admitted to the hospital days later for what turned out to be an infection that required her breast implants to be removed. Another patient who had come in for follow-up cosmetic procedures, including liposuction, in March 2022 was hospitalized days later for a perforated intestine. That patient suffered bacterial infections in her abdomen, as well as loss of brain function from the amount of toxins that were found in her blood, according to the board.
In asking for leniency, Grawe told the board: “I ask you from the bottom of my heart to please consider my thoughts with an open mind. This has humbled me more than you can know … I am willing to change my social media practices.”
But the board’s members rejected the surgeon’s argument, saying that “Dr. Grawe’s social media was more important to her than the lives of the patients she treated.” A state lawyer arguing for Grawe’s license to be revoked said Grawe “made major surgeries with potentially life-altering complications seem like one big party,” the Columbus Dispatch reported.
“Can she go back and practice, correcting herself?” said Yeshwant P. Reddy, another member of the medical board, according to USA Today. “No, I don’t think so.”
The plastic surgeon said she isn’t sure whether she will appeal, again criticizing the board for what she describes as a “rigged” system that “turned my world pretty ugly.” Since her business closed in November, Grawe said, she has had to let go of 20 employees and found herself scrambling for any kind of work now that she can no longer practice in Ohio.
“These potential employers see my résumé, and it says doctor, and they’re like, ‘What are you going to do?’” she told The Post. “I meant what I did on TikTok to make people smile and make them feel good.”
“It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention to my patients.”