A B.C. woman accused of offering illegal cosmetic injections at suspiciously low prices in questionable sanitary conditions has been the subject of several complaints from clients, along with doctors who've had to reverse her shoddy work, new court filings allege.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court asking for a permanent injunction preventing Zaliah Marie Batchelor of Victoria from performing these procedures or calling herself a doctor.
"Ms. Batchelor's conduct places public health at grave risk," the Nov. 15 petition says, describing her behaviour as "reprehensible."
The college alleges that Batchelor has continued to advertise and provide these procedures, even after signing an undertaking promising she would stop.
Batchelor, who also uses the last name Spencer, or simply calls herself Zaliah Marie, has yet to file a response to the college's claims.
The websites and social media accounts Batchelor allegedly used to advertise her services have all been taken offline. CBC has reached out through her personal Facebook account to request a comment, but she has yet to respond.
The college has filed a thick booklet of evidence compiled during its investigation into Batchelor's business, including complaints from at least three doctors, two clients and the operators of a medical esthetics clinic in Victoria.
It includes allegations that Batchelor performed risky cosmetic procedures without gloves and with a dog in the room. Former clients and the doctors who've treated them have alleged the procedures left them with pouches under their eyes, skin folds, bumps on their lips and one eyebrow higher than the other.
One customer filed a complaint alleging Batchelor injected filler around her eyes and nose without her consent, and a doctor has suggested Batchelor may not be using legitimate products.
'Extremely low prices' raise suspicion
According to the petition, Batchelor has mainly operated out of her home in Victoria, using the business names Z Wellness Studio and Studio Zaliah, but has also provided injections in Courtenay and Campbell River, along the east coast of Vancouver Island.
She has allegedly performed injections of Botox, the fillers Juvéderm and Sculptra, as well as Belkyra, which is used to reduce double chins.
The college describes these substances as "extremely dangerous" if not administered by a qualified person, potentially causing anaphylaxis, blockages in blood vessels, blindness and skin necrosis.
In B.C., only doctors, dentists, some naturopaths and registered and licensed practical nurses are permitted to inject Botox and dermal fillers.
Affidavits filed by the college suggest that Batchelor has variously told clients she is a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, or a student in naturopathy, massage, acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine.
Dr. Isabel Leeuwner, a Victoria physician who specializes in cosmetic procedures, filed an affidavit saying she has made two complaints against Batchelor after having to reverse allegedly botched procedures.
In the first case, in November 2021, Leeuwner alleged she had to perform three reversal procedures to eliminate unsightly "pockets" that had formed under a woman's eyes after she received fillers from Batchelor.
The second was in May 2022, when Leeuwner says a patient who'd paid Batchelor $75 for fillers in her nose ended up with "folds next to her eyes in the middle of her face," the affidavit says.
"I believe that Zaliah may not be injecting her customers with legitimate Botox Cosmetic or Juvéderm," Leeuwner said.
She explained that she bases that belief on the "extremely low prices" Batchelor charges, along with the poor results.
Another unnamed doctor alleged "she has been treating patients who had sustained injuries from procedures that Ms. Batchelor allegedly performed," and the operators of a medical esthetics clinic in Victoria said they've had "many clients come in for reversal procedures," according to an affidavit from a college investigator.
One former client, referred to by the initials SW, noticed after her second appointment with Batchelor that "the Botox injections caused one eyebrow to be raised higher than the other," the petition says.
During a later appointment, SW said she "found Ms. Batchelor to be assertive and injected fillers around her eyes and nose area without asking."
In an interview with college investigator Petra Brookstone, SW described the conditions during her appointments in Batchelor's home.
"She stated that nothing was sanitized, Zaliah's dog was running around and that Zaliah was drinking out of a coke can while performing the procedures," Brookstone wrote in a memorandum recounting the interview.
Included in the college's filings is an undertaking that Batchelor signed on Nov. 4, 2021, agreeing to stop performing these procedures.
But a little more than two weeks later, the college received another complaint saying Batchelor was still offering those procedures on her Instagram account at prices "not near what market prices should be for such products," according to Brookstone's affidavit.
Apart from the injunction, the college is also asking for special costs from Batchelor.