true crime

'Dr Roxy': The plastic surgeon who live-streamed herself performing botched surgeries.

A witch hunt. 

That’s how former cosmetic surgeon, Dr Katharine Roxanne Grawe described the series of events that led to her being stripped of her right to practice medicine. She wrote the comment on an Instagram post in the days following the hearing that saw her licence to practice in Ohio revoked. 

It’s an incredible stance given the horror Grawe inflicted on multiple patients as she live-streamed their cosmetic surgeries to almost 1 million social media followers.

While the exact number of botched cosmetic procedures remains unconfirmed, several were so significant, the patients were left with potentially life-threatening complications.

Social media surgery.

"Dr Roxy" made plastic surgery fun; creating consumable content that simultaneously trivialised the seriousness of the surgery about to take place, and transformed Grawe into a relatable social media personality. 

The 44-year-old owner of Roxy Plastic Surgery was well-recognised by #plasticsurgerytok, as well as Snapchat and Instagram. But along with effervescently discussing the benefits of cosmetic procedures and celebrating upcoming surgeries with patients, Grawe performed actual surgeries, live, on her social media platforms. While not for the squeamish, her live-streamed surgeries helped the surgeon gather almost a million followers, known as Dr Roxy’s

One of the most disturbing elements of Grawe’s videos, potentially leading to her downfall, was her demeanour as she performed the surgeries. Rather than appear serious and sterile, Grawe was bubbly and cheerful, often looking directly into the camera, making quips as the surgery progressed.


Image: TikTok/@doctorroxy


When it comes to medical culpability, decisions generally come back to what's known as "standard of care". While things can go wrong for any doctor or surgeon, if multiple poor outcomes occur, it’s time to look a little deeper to determine whether the doctor’s standard of care has dropped to the point that they're actively putting patients at risk. 

Dr Gregory Surfield, a witness in the case against Grawe, said live streaming itself wasn’t necessarily a deviation of the standard of care. But rather it was Grawe’s lack of focus that was the issue. In Grawe’s case, her eyes-down-the-barrel video presentations appeared to take her attention away from her patients, and that’s where the problem lay. 


The consequences were life-altering for multiple patients. One ended up with a bowel perforation after her surgery was broadcast to more than 800,000 followers. This patient had received abdominoplasty, a Brazilian butt lift, and liposuction of the upper and lower back under general anesthesia. According to the medical board hearing, liposuction can’t be combined with additional procedures in an environment like Grawe’s, due to the shifting fluids from liposuction being difficult to manage at the same time as other procedures. The patient spent 60 days in hospital, enduring multiple surgeries, and leaving her with no abdominal wall, a condition that will impact the rest of her life. 

Another patient suffered six bowel punctures, and a third — whose implants that were supposed to be removed but weren’t — had to be hospitalised for breast bleeding and necrotic tissue.

According to court documents, one patient developed bacterial infections in her abdomen and loss of brain function from the amount of toxins in her blood,

Caught out 

During her hearing, Grawe said she performed more than 1000 surgeries each year. With so many patients, and so many mistakes, it’s little wonder many of them found each other. 

In 2022, a Facebook page emerged, titled Enough is Enough. Have you been a victim of Dr Roxy?

The page was started by 37-year-old Jessica Calcara, according to The Cut, and quickly gathered around 2500 members, including former patients, medical professionals and onlookers. 

As well as disastrous medical outcomes, many members shared stories about their horrific recovery environment. 


In a statement to the Ohio Medical Board, one patient said during her recovery "not a single day were there three meals offered. The home health aides would go MIA for hours, forcing me to recline or sit up unassisted."

Image: TikTok/@doctorroxy

A long history.

While Grawe's public downfall came after her rise to fame on social media, the former surgeon has been the subject of allegations many times before. 

She was sued in 2014, ultimately paying out $300,000 following a jury verdict of negligence in 2016. Grawe appealed the decision, but it was upheld. Several other lawsuits against Grawe and Roxy Plastic Surgery remain active. 


In just two years, Grawe's surgeries resulted in at least three life-threatening complications, which is significant when you consider there are many plastic surgeons who will never have a perforation in their career. 

The verdict.

In a personal statement during the hearing, Grawe said the experience had been the most humbling of her life. 

She told the board she simply wanted to empower women “through the art of plastic surgery”, to educate people on social media, and “to make people smile in this world, which is often negative and difficult to navigate.” 

In his testimony, Dr Surfield determined Grawe was distracted by the camera and “not properly palpating the tip of the cannula while performing liposuction.” 

But Grawe argued the videos were just badly edited. 

“I understand that in addition to my own actions as owner of my practice, my staff needed better guidance from me on professionalism and respect for patients, especially during videos where I was unable to help with editing because I was operating,” she said. 

“Just like you would give a chance to somebody who’s a recovering addict to have one more chance to prove that they can change. I can do that too.”

Ultimately, eight of the ten board members agreed to revoke Grawe’s license to practice in Ohio.

Feature image: Instagram/Canva.

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