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The Dangers of Weight Loss Surgery in Tijuana, Mexico

March 14, 2019 / Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul

We understand that weight loss surgery in the United States is a big investment. That’s why an increasing number of Americans have crossed the Southern border into Mexico in search of cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, cheaper isn’t always better.

 

There have been an increasing number of reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that US citizens seeking weight loss surgery in Mexico have contracted a very serious drug resistant bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

 

Why Do People Seek Cheap Weight Loss Surgeries In Mexico?

 

Tijuana, Mexico may seem like a dream come true to those who desperately seek weight loss surgery. The primary appeal is their cheap prices.

 

Some clinics in Tijuana will only charge $4,000 for bariatric surgery with anesthesia included. Those who have tight budgets and who are at their wits end often jump at the idea of paying only a fraction of what they would pay in the United States.

 

However, medical tourists often let the reduced cost blind them to the possible dangers of undergoing a medical procedure in a Tijuana clinic. There have been numerous cases of people coming back from Mexico with life-threatening complications after bariatric surgery.

 

Regulatory Factors To Be Aware Of

 

Going into a medical center across the border without doing proper research can often lead to potentially disastrous results. A trustworthy medical facility will abide by a number of regulatory factors.

 

For example, immediate red flags should go up if the clinic you’re visiting doesn’t require its physicians to be board certified. You should also check if the facility offers laboratory services, or if they’re HIPAA complaint.

 

All of these factors, and much more, will determine the quality control of the medical facility. More often than not, doctors in Mexico aren’t required to follow these guidelines.

 

In fact, it’s common for doctors south of the border (who, to their credit, have graduated from medical school) to open up a practice and cease their medical education from that point onward.

 

Some doctors even claim to be certified in a specialty field (such as bariatric surgery) despite having insufficient training. Differences in medical training between the United States and Mexico are often not taken into consideration by medical tourists.

 

Tijuana Bariatric Surgeries Gone Wrong

 

weight loss surgery tijuana mexico dangersWe won’t sit here and tell you every medical facility in Tijuana, Mexico is “bad for your health” because that statement would be blatantly false. However, we will focus on a particularly pertinent case involving a Utah woman who battled with Pseudomonas Aeruginosa after bariatric surgery in Mexico.

 

Ronnie Dotson thought she was saving money by crossing the border and getting weight loss surgery with three other women at the Grand View Hospital located in Tijuana. After all, she didn’t have healthcare, and her options in the United States were limited.

 

After getting surgery, Ronnie returned home. She was not feeling well, and after being seen at an American hospital, it was determined the incision made during her surgery was infected. As a result, doctors were forced to put Ronnie on a new, yet toxic antibiotic to stabilize her.

 

 

It was later confirmed by the Utah Department of Health that Ronnie was suffering from the drug-resistant bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa.

 

The Dangers of Bariatric Surgery In Mexico Continued

 

Ronnie isn’t the only person to come into contact with the pseudomonas aeruginosa strain. There have been four other cases in the state of Utah thus far, with investigations into others currently underway.

 

It turns out many of these patients were medical tourists who were admitted to Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. Now, Dotson’s family can only hope the stronger antibiotic will cure her of the infection before it becomes worse.

 

Tamika Capone is yet another victim of bariatric surgery gone wrong in Tijuana, Mexico. Tamika desperately needed the surgery to keep control of her weight and blood pressure but found the $17,500 bill for bariatric surgery in the United States wouldn’t be covered by her husband’s health insurance.

 

After seeing a friend get the surgery in Tijuana for just $4,000 Tamika opted to do the same. Four months post-surgery it was discovered Tamika had contracted the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria and remains gravely ill despite the variety of medications given to her to treat the condition.

 

“I’ve not yet had a patient with zero options, but this is as close as I’ve had.” Says Ryan Dare an infectious disease doctor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

Tamika’s doctors fear that if the infection spreads to her bloodstream, she could end up fighting for her life. Tamika had also undergone surgery at the Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

 

Surgery May Become More Expensive Due To Complications

 

Mindy Blohm of Riverton, Utah was yet another case of medical tourism gone wrong. After she contracted the deadly bacteria after seeking bariatric surgery in Mexico, she was forced to sell her home to pay down the $50,000 hospital bill she was forced to take on to treat her post surgery symptoms.

 

She too underwent a bariatric procedure at Grand View Hospital. Thankfully for Mindy, she has fully recovered from the virus.

 

You CAN Afford Safe Weight Loss Surgery

 

While stories of surgeries reaching into the tens of thousands may seem discouraging to many people, there are insurance and financing options that make bariatric surgery very much affordable in the United States.

 

At Olde Del Mar Surgical screening tests are straightforward and designed to help cost-conscious patients obtain the coverage they need for life-changing surgery.

 

We believe every patient deserves excellent, compassionate, and safe care. Olde Del Mar Surgical has a fantastic complication rate (1% compared to the national rate of 5%) making it a far better choice than taking your chances across the border.

 

Your health is not the thing to cut corners with. At Olde Del Mar Surgical, you can rest assured you’ll receive high-quality care at the hands of professionals who genuinely care about your wellbeing. Contact us today to learn more about our surgical weight loss procedures.

 

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Posted in Bariatric Surgery News, Weight Loss, Bariatric Surgery