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Jury finds Sioux City plastic surgeon Adam Smith wasn't negligent
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Jury finds Sioux City plastic surgeon Adam Smith wasn't negligent

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SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa -- A jury has found that a Sioux City plastic surgeon facing incompetence charges before a state medical board was not negligent in a surgery in which a woman alleged he placed improper implants in her buttocks.

Tarsila Ramirez had sued Dr. Adam Smith in Woodbury County District Court in March 2018. The Sergeant Bluff woman said in her suit that without informing her, Smith inserted breast implants rather than gluteal implants during her December 2016 buttocks lift surgery.

After six hours of deliberation, the eight-member jury on Friday ruled in favor of Smith, answering "no" to the question on the verdict form: "Was Defendant Adam Smith M.D. negligent?"

According to Ramirez' lawsuit, Smith's partner later performed two repair surgeries on her, including the replacement of the implants. Ramirez had sought damages from Smith for pain and suffering and permanent harm and damage to her buttocks.

Ramirez' attorney, Timm Reid, of Des Moines, did not return a message seeking comment Monday.

Smith was the lone defense witness called by his attorney, John Gray, of Sioux City.

"Dr. Smith and I are pleased with the verdict," Gray said, declining further comment.

The trial began Tuesday in Spirit Lake in Dickinson County after Gray successfully argued that it be moved from Sioux City because recent media publicity surrounding Smith would make it hard to select an impartial jury in Woodbury County.

The Iowa Board of Medicine in July charged Smith with professional incompetency, saying he provided inappropriate surgical care to 17 patients during a three-year period between December 2014 to September 2017. He faces a hearing on Oct. 17-18 in Des Moines.

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Smith also is accused in federal court in Michigan of filing dozens of false Medicare and Medicaid claims totaling more than $64,000. Authorities also are conducting a criminal investigation into his actions in Michigan, where Smith practiced before moving to Sioux City in 2014.

A federal complaint alleges that Smith performed unnecessary surgeries, billed for procedures he never performed and used incorrect billing codes so that procedures would qualify for reimbursement from the state and federal health care programs. Smith also is suspected of billing for larger or more complex procedures than he performed in order to increase his financial reimbursements.

After Smith had left his practice in Michigan, two former patients filed separate malpractice lawsuits against him in 2015. Both were later settled out of court, and terms of the settlements are confidential.

[In a 2015 Journal interview, Smith discussed botched plastic surgery he had corrected.]

Smith, who is affiliated with Tri-State Specialists in Sioux City, faces five other lawsuits in Woodbury County from former patients who claim he was negligent in their surgeries and post-operative care.

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