22 Jun 2021
Following two separate investigations and a prosecution by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), Ms Aliaa Mohammed Elmetwally Ismaeli Sherif has today been convicted of 10 charges under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) and fined $15,000 by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria at Ringwood.
She was also ordered to pay Ahpra’s costs in an amount to be fixed.
Ms Sherif operated a cosmetic clinic using the names ‘Feel Young Again’ and ‘The Good Life Anti-Aging’ in Wheelers Hill, Victoria. She was charged with falsely claiming to be a medical practitioner and a haematology specialist between April 2018 and May 2019. The charges related to a range of activities including giving medical advice during media interviews, injecting patients with dermal fillers and botox, providing medical advice to a patient, providing unapproved antibiotics and producing and relying on a fraudulent registration certificate when trying to establish her business.
Ms Sherif has never been registered as a medical practitioner with the Medical Board of Australia.
Today’s outcome follows Ms Sherif pleading guilty to the charges.
In delivering her sentence, Magistrate MacLean noted that Ms Sherif’s offending was very serious and continued even after Ahpra issued a cease and desist letter which had told her to stop. She went on to treat another patient, piercing her lip and causing bleeding and pain.
Her Honour did not accept that Ms Sherif is ‘wholly remorseful’ and commented: ‘It is clear that she does not fully appreciate the significance of her actions and the danger she posed to the public.’
Magistrate MacLean further commented that what was aggravating about the offending is that it was not a one off, but a persistent course of conduct.
‘The offending in my view is very serious and could properly be described as willful, planned and not as a result of any misunderstanding,’ her Honour said.
A Victorian woman who received cosmetic treatment from Ms Sherif under the misapprehension that she was a registered medical practitioner was relieved to see an outcome in the matter. She said she suffered adverse reactions as a result of Ms Sherif’s treatment.
‘For a long time, after her treatment, my daily activities and vitality were badly impacted to a certain point where I felt depressed, lost my appetite and good health, and felt hopeless. For a couple of days I could not eat at all, could not even brush my teeth. Once I had to stop my teaching class as I could not speak properly because of the condition of my face and lips,’ she said.
‘I was disappointed and shocked with my experience. I thought she was a professional doctor and would follow the code of conduct that all medical practitioners follow in Australia.’
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said: ‘Patients rightly expect they are being treated by properly qualified and registered practitioners and this individual grossly violated that trust. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who falsely claims to be registered, in order to protect public safety.’
Medical Board of Australia Chair Dr Anne Tonkin said: ‘We hope this matter serves as a deterrent to anyone considering such behaviour. Members of the public are encouraged to ensure the medical practitioner they are seeing is properly registered by checking the online register of practitioners.’
Individuals seeking cosmetic procedures and treatment, including cosmetic injectables, are urged to visit Ahpra’s website at: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Publications/Cosmetic-surgery-and-procedures.aspx for further information around getting informed and making a safer choice. Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered can check the register of practitioners maintained by Ahpra or contact 1300 419 495.