How One Woman Was Left With Brain Damage After Plastic Surgery

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Sometimes, complications arise during even the most innocuous procedures. Recently, a Texas resident suffered major brain damage while under anesthesia for plastic surgery in Jaurez, Mexico—and the reason is terrifying.

Laura Avila, 36, traveled to Mexico to get a rhinoplasty operation and breast implant replacement on the morning of October 30, but the surgery was pushed to noon because the surgeons were running late, says Avila’s sister, Angie Avila. Laura’s fiancé, Eric Cruz, accompanied Laura to the Rino Center in Juarez that morning, and was not allowed to see her when he returned to the center around four o'clock, even though he had been told that the surgery would take no more than four hours.

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When Cruz finally spoke with doctors, he discovered that the director of a nearby hospital came in, saw Laura, and said, “we need an ambulance right away.”

It was then discovered that the anesthesia used for the procedure was put in the wrong place in Laura’s spine, swelling her brain, leading her kidneys to fail and causing her to suffer from cardiac arrest for four minutes, CBS News reports. After her cardiac arrest, Laura was placed into a medically-induced coma to prevent further damage to her brain.

Luckily, this specific mistake—which is most likely attributed to the anesthesiologist—doesn't happen to patients often and is generally a risk all surgeries (not just plastic surgery) can carry. In fact, suffering this kind of trauma during a plastic surgery operation is pretty rare. “Plastic surgery itself is extremely safe, and I don’t know of a case where it has caused brain damage directly,” says Leesburg, Virgina plastic surgeon Phillip Chang, MD.

Laura, who was transferred to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, was brought out of the coma on November 3, and has been on life support since. Her family has been told that they must decide whether to let her go in peace, or to keep her on life support, but they are not ready to give up on Laura just yet. They are working hard to get Laura transferred to another hospital in Dallas for a second opinion.

In order to avoid possible complications like this during surgery, always do extensive research before booking the appointment. And most importantly, make sure to go to a board-certified plastic surgeon for every procedure—after all, the more experience your doctor has, the better. 


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