Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Perfection is the disease of a nation
Rachene Hutchinson (28)
Ericka Hernandez (31)
Charilín Cedeño (23)
Beverly Brignoni (28)
Who are these women? They are someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, and mother who have died as a result of a growing trend called Medical Tourism. Medical Tourism, or traveling outside of one’s native country to receive medical care, isn’t new at all but has become more popular in the age of social media and social networking. Specifically, traveling to foreign countries to get discounted plastic surgery. Thanks to our favorite social networks, reality television shows, blogs and apps, women around the world are experiencing more body envy than ever. You know, scrolling through instagram and seeing your favorite faux celebrity’s body and thinking “damn, I wish I had a body like that!” before typing “#Goals” and heart eye emojis under their post. Some of us are able to stop, stare and scroll on while others become obsessed with obtaining a body they want to boast about.
It goes down in the DR as places like Dominican Republic’s capitol, Santo Domingo, seem to be the mecca of discounted plastic surgeries. Thailand, Mexico and Costa Rica are also desired destinations for abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction, buttocks augmentation as well as breast augmentation and reductions. Over 70% of women who receive surgery in these places are from the United States. Why? Women are flocking to the Dominican Republic because they save approximately 88% of what they would spend if they have the same surgery in the United States. However, saving a few hundred dollars fails to compare to saving your own life.
I was a member of a Facebook group titled “Dominican Republic Plastic Surgery Horror Stories” that has since been removed and I’m pretty sad about it because I didn’t move fast enough to share it with you. I joined the group after seeing a photo of a woman who suffered permanent scarring and burns after surgery. I remember being so taken aback by the photo that tears instantly fell from my eyes. I thumbed through that page for hours that day and I returned to it every day after because I could not wrap my head around what I was seeing and reading. Most of the members in the group joined to warn other women who may be considering surgery while others were there to receive support after losing a loved one to a botched surgery or neglectful aftercare. While there are many facilities that perform these surgeries, there seems to be a large number of women who have issues after visiting Dr. Hector Cabral and Dr. Edgar Contreras.
A simple Google search of Hector Cabral will bring up horror stories dating back as far as 2011 and for Dr. Contreras, 2006. Cabral’s clinic was closed for nearly two weeks at one point after the deaths of 3 women who has surgery at his clinic. Though he was not named as the surgeon in those particular cases, he was fined $20,000 for unauthorized practice of medicine after traveling to the U.S. to recruit patients in NY beauty salons and spas. Cabral allegedly used the salons to perform exams on women before persuading them to visit Santo Domingo for surgery. Since the surgeries were done in DR, the Attorney General could not pursue further charges.
In one case Dr. Cabral stated that he “thinks” the patient “may” have died from a heart attack on the operating table. The reason he isn’t sure is because there is no monitoring equipment present in the room. In the absence of respiratory support, vital monitors and emergency resuscitation devices, it is not a surprise that this happens. Additionally, patients are not thoroughly examined for pre-existing conditions and are not advised to avoid surgery if they have known issues. These clinics are also known for performing several major same day surgeries on patients which is extremely risky even in the best practices.
Though the surgeons are licensed in their country, they do not have the same standards of practice as the U.S. and this is what poses danger. According to women that I’ve spoke with personally, some clinics where these surgeries take place are reminiscent of scenes from a “Saw” movie while others are nice and completely unassuming. Described as dark and dank, it’s been reported that these facilities are usually overcrowded and overbooked which causes rushed procedures to ensure that no one walks away with money that can be put into their pockets. One young woman said she has nightmares of the screams she overheard while waiting to be serviced. Apparently, it isn’t unusual for anesthesia to be improperly administered causing women to awake in pain before their procedures are complete.
This particular young lady, decided against her scheduled “mommy makeover” after what she witnessed and vowed to warn as many women as possible. She found that her comments and reviews were being deleted and she was blocked by the very people she was set to hand of thousands of dollars to. This was the story of dozens of women who joined the Facebook group in hopes of reaching women in the one place they wouldn’t get blocked from sharing their experiences.
Death isn’t the only result of these botched surgeries. Many women suffer infections such as Mycobacteria which infects the skin or lungs and is extremely resistant to antibiotics making them hard to fight. This virus is caused by using tap water and failure to sterilize utensils being shared between procedures. Patients also permanent scarring in the form of burns and painful scars with discharging abscesses. After all is said and done, they end up having to have several procedures to correct these issues when possible which amounts to more than what they would have spent by going to a better facility to begin with. Not only do they now have physical damage, the toll this can take on one’s mental can be irreversible even if scars disappear. Yes, anything can happen anywhere, I’m well aware. However, in most cases, a surgeon will more than likely be held accountable. In DR? It’s more like “Oops, my bad!” and nobody is held responsible for a life they so carelessly mishandled.
I get it, some people are unhappy with their body and it’s their prerogative how they choose to fix it. This post isn’t written to warn against plastic surgery but more so to say DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. Of course, there are people who are well aware of the risk and they decide to go against their better judgement or simply think it could never happen to them, but a good portion of people go into these situations completely ignorant of consequence.
If you absolutely must have surgery, save your coins until you can afford a surgeon who is proven reputable. Did you know that some places offer financing? Perhaps that can be an option for you if you insist on having surgery right away. There is also the much safer approach, building your own body through proper exercise. I know, I know, that takes too long, you don’t have time or you think it won’t work. Well, it works if YOU work but it takes time. I think that’s part of the problem. Everyone wants everything NOW but that’s an entirely different post.
Whatever you choose, make sure you are informed on all fronts and that you aren’t blindly making a potentially fatal decision.
What good is a discount if the outcome is death? Okay, so it may take a bit longer than you desire. What good is a bangin’ body if it’s rotting away in a casket because you were too impatient or because you failed to do proper research? Scroll back up, reread those names. Google them, look at their faces, listen to the voices of the people who Love and miss them. Find your why. Is it worth it?
Also keep in mind, the images you see and obsess over, are an illusion. Not only are the bodies of those women man made, they take it a step further and Photoshop themselves to perfection. I’ll never forget watching a documentary in college titled “Killing Us Softly” about advertising and women’s bodies.
I watched them put together a photo for a magazine using the lips of one model, the eyes and nose of another before they digitally altered the neck, arms and other body parts until it barely looked like the original model. In that same documentary, Cindy Crawford was quoted saying ” I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” Though a dated example, it still rings true. What Cindy meant was “girl, this is all smoke and mirrors” or better yet, filters and angles. NoBODY is perfect and that’s perfectly okay.
Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery
Ladies, have you heard plastic surgery horror stories taking place in Dominican Republic? Would you consider traveling for discounted surgery?
Read more: http://www.balleralert.com/profiles/blogs/ballerific-health-pretty-hurts-dishing-on-the-dangers-of-plastic#ixzz4Lz0IdC69