36-Year-Old Texas Woman Is on Life Support After Going to Mexico for Plastic Surgery
She reportedly suffered severe brain damage from anesthesia being put in the wrong place in her spine.
A 36-year-old Texas woman is fighting for her life after she reportedly suffered severe brain damage from anesthesia being put in the wrong place in her spine ahead of a rhinoplasty and breast implant replacement procedure at a clinic in Mexico last month, according to the woman’s sister, Angie Avila.
Laura Avila, of Dallas, Texas, went in for the procedure at the Rino Center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on October 30, according to her family’s GoFundMe page. Laura’s fiancé, Eric Cruz, accompanied her to the medical center for the operation.
Ahead of the procedure, Laura allegedly “suffered cardiac arrest for four minutes. She was then placed into a medically-induced coma to prevent further damage to her brain that was caused by the complications she experienced during anesthesia,” the family wrote.
Angie told CBS News that doctors at the Mexican hospital where her sister was transferred, told them the Rino Center put the anesthesia in the wrong place in Laura’s spine, her brain swelled, her kidneys failed and she went into cardiac arrest.
The clinic in Mexico has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
After she was brought out of the coma on November 3, Laura had to be placed on life support due to severe brain damage. She has since been transferred to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, reports Fox San Antonio.
On Tuesday, the family wrote another update on GoFundMe saying that “the hospital in El Paso has done everything they can to help Laura.”
“They have given us two options: to let her go in peace or have her physically here. If she were to improve, it is possible she could only regain minimal functioning skills,” they wrote. “As a family, we decided it is too soon to make such an impossible decision. We have been working relentlessly to transfer her to a hospital in Dallas to get a second opinion.”
CBS News reports that their news correspondent “Anna Werner spoke to a prosecutor in Mexico who is now handling an investigation into the Rino Center where Laura was treated. No formal charges have been filed yet, but the clinic has been raided.”
Laura’s sister, Angie, also wrote on Facebook alleging that the clinic did not provide Laura’s medical records to the Mexican government, so “as a result, they were raided by Fiscalía Saturday night. The documents are under review.”
Desperate for a second opinion on her dire condition, the family wants Laura transferred to the Parkland Medical hospital in Dallas, but according to Angie’s Facebook post, as of Tuesday afternoon, they have “denied her a second time, despite the fact that it is a public hospital and she is a Dallas resident who pays taxes.”
When the hospital was reached for comment, they said they needed permission from the family to respond.
“By law we need a signed consent from the legal next of kin,” media supervisor Catherine Bradley wrote in an email to PEOPLE.
Dr. Dennis Orgill, the medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Wound Care Center in Boston, told The Chicago Tribune that people are motivated to leave the country for medical procedures because of the cost and in some cases because of cultural issues.
“There are many websites that advertise for these procedures,” he said. “And the initial costs for these procedures in developing countries is substantially less.”
He added: “Some surgeons in these countries are excellent, but sometimes it is hard for patients to tell the difference by looking on the internet. And it’s that inability to properly vet international services, providers and regulations that ultimately gives rise to “a large public health issue.”
Laura’s family has refrained from speaking out further about the incident, “not because we don’t want to, but because we’re investing every second of the day fighting for her,” they wrote.
“I know Laura is so loved and has touched many lives, so again, I thank you for checking to see how she’s doing. I promise we are doing what we can to ensure we’ve exhausted all her options, make sure her legal case proceeds, and to keep all her loved ones informed,” they continued.
There will be a candlelight vigil for Laura on Wednesday evening at the San Jacinto Plaza in El Paso, Texas.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter