Dallas Woman Ends Up On Life Support After Trip To Mexico For Plastic Surgery

Laura Avila, a Dallas real estate agent, traveled to Mexico last month with her fiance Enrique Cruz, seeking plastic surgery that included “a nose job and breast implant replacement.” Before doctors at the Rino Center in Ciudad Juarez began the procedure, however, something went horribly wrong.

Eight hours after they arrived, Cruz was approached by doctors with bad news:

“The only thing that they told me was that they had to take her to the hospital because that, the anesthesia wasn’t wearing off and they did not know why.”

According to Laura’s sister, Angie Avila, the family was later told that doctors at the Rino Center had injected anesthesia into the wrong portion of Laura’s spine, causing her kidneys to fail, her brain to swell, and her body to go into cardiac arrest.

For Angie, this entire experience is like a waking nightmare:

“I just said to myself, ‘This isn’t happening. This can’t happen.’ Because of the brain damage she suffered, she’ll never be our Laura again.”

Cruz says he and Laura researched the clinic before visiting and found positive reviews. For their family, who often cross the border to visit each other, traveling to another country for surgery wasn’t such a big deal.

According to Angie:

“It sounds crazy to say, ‘Oh they went to another country,’ but to us, you know, it’s home. It’s familiar.”

As many as 1.5 million Americans planned to travel outside the country for surgery, according to one 2017 study. The United States’ high medical costs make procedures in Mexico, where medical prices are general 40-65% lower, seem especially appealing. Of course, those lower prices come at the price of oversight.

According to Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders:

“People are seeking alternatives. The oversight in countries like Mexico isn’t up to the same standards as it is in the United States.”

Text messages between the Rino Clinic’s Dr. Judith Hernandez and Laura Avila reveal she was feeling uncertain about the procedure.

Hernandez wrote to Laura:

“you will get a mix of sedation and blocking.”

Laura responded:

“I’m sorry but I don’t understand what sedation and blocking is and I’m concerned because I’m very nervous.”

Hernandez told her:

“It’s sedation. Don’t worry.”

Laura’s family will soon have to make the decision whether or not to take her off of life support, which is currently the only thing keeping her alive in an El Paso hospital. The Rino Center has issued no statement and refuses to talk to the press. Laura’s family, however, is holding them responsible for their loss.

Angie commented:

“Never in my life did I imagine that we would get to El Paso and they would tell us she suffered severe global brain damage…As long as my heart is beating, I will make sure they pay for what they did and this can’t happen to anybody else.”

H/T – CBS, USA Today