Hannibal Lotocki was the "surgeon of celebrities". He had denounced it in Justice and in the media Silvina Luna, also his former partner, Pamela Sosa, Vicky Xipolitakis and Gabriela Trenchi.
Last year he received a sentence of four years in prison and disqualification from practicing for the serious injuries suffered by those four women during their cosmetic surgeries.
As the sentence is not firm – it must be ratified by Cassation – the condemned today walks in freedom.
But his procedural situation was further complicated this 2023 for another reason. The death of a construction entrepreneur he operated on in 2021.
Cristian Zárate and Romina, in the only photo that the businessman's widow agreed to share. He underwent surgery by Lotocki and died. Now the doctor was prosecuted for simple homicide.
For that reason, Lotocki was prosecuted on Tuesday, without preventive pressure. He will remain free.
He is considered "material author criminally responsible for the crime of simple homicide". You must appear in court every 15 days. In addition, they seized it for more than 4 million pesos.
"We are not going to talk because we have not yet studied the issue (with the team of lawyers). Obviously we are going to appeal. Because we still don't know what Zárate died of," Lotocki's defense lawyer, Ileana Lombardo, told Clarín.
Who was the businessman who died after surgery with Lotocki
Cristian Zárate, 50, entered the operating room on April 15, 2021 to have a slight excess fat removed (the technical name is dermolipectomy, something very similar to liposuction) and an abdominal hernia. The result was far from what was expected.
The situation was complicated at the Cemeco clinic in Caballito, where Lotocki rented an operating room to continue operating during the second wave of the pandemic, while the City Government had decreed that only life-threatening operations should be carried out, to ensure beds that coronavirus patients might need.
Aníbal Lotocki, in his last hearing of the trial initiated by Luna, Trenchi, Sosa and Xipolitakis.
Zárate was under observation after more than two hours in the operating room. He collapsed around midnight and was stabilized by clinic staff, who had to intubate him. Lotocki arrived an hour later. While he was being checked, his patient went into cardiac arrest and they had to call the SAME.
Prosecutor Pablo Recchini now asked to expand the doctor's investigative statement by 18 points that the Medical Board marked in the expertise, and the qualification of culpable homicide (from one to five years) could change to simple homicide with eventual intent. The new cover has a penalty ranging from 8 to 25 years in prison.
The accusation points out that, due to his knowledge as a doctor, Lotocki was presented with the idea that Zárate could die from complications, but he still went ahead with the operation.
The businessman had grown up in a humble family in San Justo, in La Matanza, and lived between Ramos Mejía and Luján, where he had bought land to build houses. He had two children from a previous marriage, who at the time of his death were 16 and 18 years old.
Romina Sicoli, who was his partner for five years, appeared as a plaintiff, advised by lawyer Mariano Lizardo, who had already gone against Lotocki in other criminal proceedings and was a friend of the businessman for 20 years.
The woman says that this novelty in the case, which she celebrates, envelops her in a spiral of pain.
"Every time something happens it's coming back to the same thing. The same film, in repetition, in loop. But I respect the judge very much, who is the one who stopped him in the first place, when Lotocki barricaded himself in the clinic. It was the other Chamber that released him for a derisory sum of 5 million pesos," he said in an interview.
Later, Romina spoke with Clarín and was cautious when commenting on the prosecutor's new request. "You have to see in June and July, wait for the judge's decision. I think they're going to change the cover, because the details of the expertise are rough," he said.
Sunday marked two years since the death of his "life partner," whom he planned to marry in Italy and have a child.
Romina, who is a textile designer, repeatedly warned her partner that Lotocki had been denounced by many women who went through his scalpel.
"But he, a manipulator and psychopath, convinced him of the opposite, that he was not detained, that he had no cause or anything like that. And Cristian, who was 50 years old, decided to do it anyway, for his own reasons," he says.
The businessman hid from almost all his friends, including the lawyer who would later officiate as a plaintiff in the case for his death, that he was going to go with this controversial surgeon. In fact, two days before the surgery, the couple had argued loudly over that decision.
Lotocki – who also recommended the businessman to operate on his double chin – never spoke with the widow, who was "in total disagreement" with him being chosen. Already resigned, she focused on recommending to her partner that he "at least find out if he has an ICU," an intensive therapy in the clinic where he was going to operate.
The Cemeco clinic was authorized for such surgery, but according to prosecutor Recchini presented "serious legal infractions and administrative irregularities," such as lacking a medical director in charge and not having, precisely, an ICU reserved for an eventual referral.
Two key facts
Romina says that there is a "key testimony" of Pablo, a friend of Cristian who accompanied him to the clinic instead of his partner, thinking that for the return home he would be able to load him better in the car if he remained weak from anesthesia. But Zárate "was operated on twice on the same day, on two different occasions. I had lost a lot of blood."
Pablo said that he saw "how they passed him sedatives instead of medication or moving him" when the clinical picture worsened and that "they sedated him so that he did not scream from the pain."
Despite the media condemnation that fell on Lotocki – it should be noted that the Justice was only in 2022 – Romina says that the businessman came to that doctor "because he saw him on TV, on Instagram", that "he had become infatuated with him" and that "there was no way to convince him of anything else".
This is also key.
From Silvina Luna, who days ago declared that she is on her way to a kidney transplant for "aesthetic decisions of the past" (she operated on her buttocks with Lotocki and the complications derived are kidney failure and hypercalcemia), to Xipolitakis, through Gabriela Trenchi, another of the women who denounced him, all said they gave notes to alert the population about this well-known doctor.
There is another fact that should not go unnoticed.
In addition to the fact that his partner showed Zárate the complaints that fell on Lotocki, the businessman knew Gabriela Trenchi since he was 16 years old. Then, she had one of the victims nearby and the lawyer representing her was also her friend. Still, he chose it.
Gabriela Trenchi, one of the women who denounced and obtained the conviction of Lotocki, was a friend of Zárate. Photo Instagram
He paid $6,000 for the surgeries. "That day I had done five operations. They never gave me an invoice. Imagine the money he made. Minimum $ 30,000," added the woman and stressed her desire that "while Justice determines whether he will serve his sentence or not, Lotocki does not continue working or promoting the shit he does."
Lotocki was apprehended at the clinic after death and later released. But 24 hours later, at the time of the investigation, the judge decided to arrest him accused of culpable homicide and malpractice.
In his statement, the doctor said that "Cristian was a difficult patient, who did not allow himself to be treated."
The expertise that would change the cover
One of the points that complicate his situation refers to the fact that the Medical Board considered that Zárate performed "multiple interventions" on the same day, when he should have carried them out "at different stages"; Also that he altered the medical history by not recording that the patient was diabetic and a smoker. And that, of course, he didn't perform any Covid tests.
In addition, that Lotocki did not monitor the patient closely after the intervention; He did not reserve blood units provided for the patient in case of complications and he had to resort to two plasma units that were for another person.
Of course, the doctor did not forget to make Zárate sign a consent from the Argentine Society of Plastic Surgery (SACPER). But that document is considered apocryphal, because the surgeon did not belong to that entity.
Lotocki is a surgeon, but he did not do the specialty of cosmetic surgery. By law, until a regulation says otherwise, you are allowed to perform plastic surgeries. On her Instagram she simply perceives herself as a "body modeling specialist".