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Plastic Surgery Patient Suffers Brain Damage From Anesthesia

Laura Avila, a 36-year-old woman from Dallas, traveled to Juarez, Mexico to undergo plastic surgery. In preparation for the procedure, anesthesia was used that caused significant complications. The anesthesia was apparently injected into the area of the spine; however, it traveled to her brain and created major damage. She also endured a period where the brain was deprived of oxygen and had a heart attack. Her fiancé, Enrique Cruz, was told the surgery was going to be a rhinoplasty that was supposed to be completed in several hours.

Facility Inspection

Mexican investigators from Chihuahua inspected the facility known as the Rinocenter. The complications are believed to be the result of medical negligence. The facility was temporarily shut down during the inspection. Investigators did not release specific details but stated that there were some “irregularities”.

Anesthesia Injection

Cruz returned to the facility later that afternoon assuming the procedure was completed. He was informed that Laura had been transferred to a hospital for emergency care. Doctors are uncertain why the anesthesia traveled directly to her brain instead of her body. After several days she was moved to University Medical Center in El Paso for further treatment of her brain damage.

Injury Severity

According to her family, her condition has yet to improve. She has been unable to move and does not appear to be coherent. Doctors say she is not in a state of true consciousness and is unaware of her surroundings. Her sister and the family are wondering if she will be able to sustain herself without life support. The family is attempting to raise funds so she can be transferred to a facility closer to her home.

Negligence in Plastic/Cosmetic Surgery

Injuries that occur during cosmetic surgery are not always the result of negligence. To be considered medical malpractice, the injury must be the result of the medical provider failing to act in a reasonable manner that conforms to the current standards for medical care in the profession. This failure to meet currently accepted levels of care must be shown to have caused the injuries incurred. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the volume of cosmetic procedures performed continues to rise. In 2017, there were approximately 17.5 million such operations completed.

Common Types of Plastic Surgery Malpractice

  • Breast augmentation, lift or reductions: A mammoplasty is a cosmetic process that uses an implant to increase the size of the breasts. A lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure that raises the breasts to improve appearance.
  • Dermabrasion: A process of surgically scraping the skin to improve the look and smoothness of the surface.
  • Hair procedures: Laser hair removal uses a high-intensity light to remove hair and prevent unwanted future hair growth. Hair transplants are procedures of implanting hair and follicles onto bald regions of the scalp.
  • Facelift: Also known as a rhytidectomy, a facelift tightens the skin in the facial region to remove wrinkles and other signs of aging.
  • Laser vein treatment: Specific laser treatments are used to treat varicose veins or spider veins, typically from the legs. The burst of light minimizes the vein and makes it less visible.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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