DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (CBS) — A mother from New Rochelle, New York, died while undergoing plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic, CBS New York reports. She is the third American to die in a month during a cosmetic operation in the Caribbean nation.
According to her sister, Maxine David, Alexandra Medina was unhappy with her appearance, and asked doctors in the U.S. about undergoing liposuction. However, she was apparently told that she needed to lose weight before getting the surgery.
Her sister says Medina contacted a Dominican doctor through Facebook, who said the surgery wouldn’t be an issue. “This doctor was like, ‘No problem. We can do it. We can handle it. We’ve dealt with bigger women, so come here. We’ll do it.’ And it was obviously also cheaper,” David said.
During liposuction at a Santo Domingo clinic Friday, Medina died on the operating table, allegedly from a blood clot.
The Dominican Health Minister apparently told David a full review will take place, but she is concerned they will sweep it under the rug.
“Women are going over there for these surgeries, these elective surgeries, and not coming out alive,” David said.
“There are reasonable facilities in Europe, South America, et cetera, but they are usually subject to the same set of criteria we have here,” Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Spinelli told CBS New York. “To indiscriminately choose some place on the basis of finances is a grave mistake.”
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about the dangers of “medical tourism” after at least 18 women from the East Coast became infected with a disfiguring bacteria following plastic surgery procedures they had in the Dominican Republic.
David said she will remember her sister as a “savvy, smart, vibrant and passionate” woman whose cheap surgery came at a terrible cost.