A Texas woman went to Mexico for a cheap nose job but instead, wound up in a coma and on life support. Now, her family faces the tragic reality that she may have paid the ultimate price for the procedure, according to a variety of sources.
Laura Avila, 36, a Dallas real estate agent, decided to have the rhinoplasty at the Rino Center in Ciudad Juarez because she could pay a $138 down payment for the procedure, according to the Dallas Morning News.
On October 30, Avila and her fiancé Enrique Cruz traveled to the Mexican facility located roughly 11 miles south of El Paso. Cruz told WFAA an employee administered anesthesia but something went terribly wrong.
“I was kind of getting upset and worried they would not let me see her or anything,” said Cruz, who added he was told her blood pressure dropped and they could not perform the rhinoplasty.
Reportedly, he waited eight hours for Avila to regain consciousness from the anesthesia. Then, Cruz said he was told they had to take Avila to a hospital in Ciudad Juarez because she suffered cardiac arrest.
“They injected anesthesia in her spine at the clinic and instead of flowing down her body, it went into her brain which caused severe swelling,” said Avila’s sister Angie.
Family members said Avila spent four days in a Mexican hospital unconscious and on life support systems while they fought to move her to a medical center in the United States. Officials at the Mexican facility refused to sign transfer papers until the family paid the bill, according to WFAA. “The hospital basically held us hostage because we wouldn’t pay the full amount,” said Avila’s sister Angie.
KFOX reported Avila came out of the coma on November 3, according to her sister. The family had an ambulance transport Avila to an El Paso hospital but they came without critical medical records from Juarez. Allegedly, the Mexican hospital did not release them. Family members said they hired Mexican attorneys to obtain those documents.
However, El Paso doctors since shared grim news with the family saying Avila suffered “severe brain damage.” They gave the family the choice of pulling Avila off of life support or performing two surgeries that would keep her alive but in a vegetative state, according to the sister.
The family refuses to give up hope, though, and say they are encouraged by whatever signs of life Avila exhibits such as opening her eyes and moving her hands. They have created a GoFundMe account. It has raised more than $70,000 of a $150,000 goal.
Family members said they hope to move Avila to a Dallas hospital.
Online, Rino Center advertised a nose job at $18,000 pesos, approximately $885 U.S. dollars. Last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimated the average price for a nose job at $5,125 before factoring in anesthesia, outpatient operating room facilities, and other related expenses. In total, a U.S. rhinoplasty can range from approximately $6,000 to $15,000, according to Allure Magazine.
Experts at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso told KFOX the requirements to become a plastic surgeon in Mexico differ from those in the United States. It takes around 16 years of extensive medical training to become an American plastic surgeon.
“[In Mexico], they do fewer years in terms of sub-specialty training. The requirements for general surgery are less,” said Dr. Jose Manuel de la Rosa.