El Paso

Texas woman suffers complications as she sought plastic surgery in Juarez clinic

Investigators raid medical facility

Woman My sister is braindead after plastic surgery complication in Juarez

El Paso, Texas - Editor's note: This story has been updated to note the patient, Laura Avila, suffered severe global brain damage and was not brain dead, according to her sister, Angie Avila.

A Dallas woman, previously of the El Paso area, traveled to Juarez, Mexico, for a rhinoplasty, but instead of leaving the medical facility with a new nose, she left in critical condition. 

Laura Avila, 36, booked the procedure for 7 a.m. at a plastic surgery facility on October 30, according to her sister Angie Avila.  Angie said that at about 8 a.m., Laura was told some of the surgeons flying in from Guadalajara were running late and the surgery was pushed until Noon. 

Enrique Cruz, Laura's fiance, said he was told the procedure would take four hours, but when he returned around 4 p.m., he said he wasn't able to see Laura.  Cruz told ABC-7 that at about 9 p.m., the director of the medical facility told him Laura needed to be transferred to another hospital. 

Angie told ABC-7 the doctors in Mexico told her Laura had anesthesia injected into her spine, but instead of flowing through her body, the anesthesia went to her brain. Angie told ABC-7 the complications resulted in Laura suffering severe complications and suffering severe global brain damage.

After spending four days in a hospital in Juarez, Laura was transferred to University Medical Center in El Paso. 

"She's been in a bed. She hasn't moved," said Angie, "She's opened her eyes, and there have been small movements, but she has a glazed look in her eyes. Doctors don't believe she can see us. You know, she's physically here, but not mentally here."

A Chihuahua state investigator confirmed investigators searched Rinocenter, the facility where Laura sought the plastic surgery. Investigators looking into possible medical negligence seized medical records related to the case.

"It will be necessary to obtain all the clinical and medical information on this procedure so we can be in a position to determine if the crime of medical negligence happened," the state investigator said, "We will be gathering information on the case and expect to make a determination in a few days."

The Avila family told ABC-7 that staff at UMC said there is nothing more that can be done for Laura, leaving them with a daunting decision: remove her from life-support or transfer her to another medical facility closer to home. 

"As a family we need to decide whether we want to remove her from life-support, " said Angie. "We cry every single day and I think, right now, we're  just shocked and don't want to believe it's true, you know. She is the person I love the most on this earth, she's a second mom to me."

Cruz told ABC-7 he has been together with Laura for more than 10 years and he will remain by her side. "We actually got married by God," Cruz said. "No matter what happens I  want her to know I have a special place my heart (for her)."

Click here to donate to Laura's GoFundMe 



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