A now notorious plastic surgeon and security guard narrowly escaped a murder conviction at their sentencing on Friday in Hanoi.
The men made national news, last year, for dumping a patient's body into the Red River.
Nguyen Manh Tuong, 41, received 14 years in prison for medical malpractice and five years for desecrating a corpse.
Dao Quang Khanh, 18, a clinic security guard who helped Tuong dump the body in the Red River, got two years and nine months for desecrating a corpse and robbery.
The court found that Khanh had stolen an iPhone he found on the patient's person.
Le Thi Thanh Huyen, 39, died on October 19, 2013 after undergoing a liposuction and breast enlargement surgery at Tuong’s clinic, Cat Tuong.
The police immediately put Tuong and Khanh under investigation. The case was deferred until police found Huyen’s body last August.
Prosecutors said Tuong wasn't qualified or authorized to conduct the procedures.
They said he failed to check the patient for blood clotting and allergies to antibiotics, as required.
Although the prosecutors said Tuong’s actions led to Huyen’s death, his lawyer said he acted without malice and should not be charged for murder.
After two days of deliberating, the court decided there wasn't enough evidence to accuse Tuong of murder.
According to the sentencing memorandum, Tuong severely tarnished the medical profession and caused widespread public panic about the risks involved in cosmetic surgery. The name of his now-shuttered clinic “Cat Tuong” has been adopted into the lexicon to describe things that end in unexpected tragedy.
The court barred him from practicing medicine for five years after he completes his sentence and asked him to pay the victim’s family more than VND585 million (US$27,400) and give each of her children VND1 million a month until they turn 18.
The court also called on the Hanoi Health Department to subject cosmetic surgeries and beauty clinics to further scrutiny.