Mimi Valdez and niece Chrissy went to Hospital Jerusalem for cosmetic surgery and now say they are left disfigured and regretting the decision
Published: 21:53 BST, 9 July 2013 | Updated: 23:03 BST, 9 July 2013>
Two Texas women who travelled to Mexico to undergo plastic surgery are now warning others not to make the same decision they did.
Mimi Valdez and her niece Chrissy decided to save money by outsourcing their medical procedures to a facility in Tijuana.
But after what they say were gruesome and life-threatening results at Hospital Jerusalem, the two women say they wish they’d just saved their money and had the work done at home.
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Regretful: Mimi Valdez had lost 130 pounds and wanted to get a tummy tuck to remove leftover skin. She chose to have surgery at a Tijuana, Mexico hospital and says she regrets the decision
Valdez chose to go to Hospital Jerusalem for two reasons: First, after losing 130 pounds, she said she wanted the remaining loose skin removed via a tummy tuck.
And second, the hospital told Valdez she’d be charged just $5,000 in total. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, that’s about the average cost for the surgery in the United States, but does not include costly anesthesia, operating facilities, or other expenses.
After her dramatic weight loss, she was ready to see the full effect of all her efforts.
‘You’re tired. It’s heavy, it’s loose skin and it’s just hard to live like that,’ Valdez told KHOU.
It seemed like the perfect solution, until the women made it to Tijuana.
'I made a very, very wrong decision to go through with it': Valdez and her niece say the Hospital Jerusalem was actually a clinic in a strip mall when they arrived there
Post-surgery: Valdez underwent a tummy tuck and her niece had surgery on her breasts. 'I had skin hanging out of the incisions,' Chrissy said.
They said the Hospital Jerusalem, pristine and welcoming on their
website , was more like a clinic in a strip mall.
Despite reservations, Mimi and Chrissy decided to go through with it.
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‘I was already there,’ Chrissy told the Houston CBS affiliate. ‘I knew I wasn’t going to get my money back and I made a very, very wrong decision to go through with it. And I should have listened to my intuition but I didn’t.’
Nightmare: Chrissy and her aunt Mimi say they are now both disfigured from their surgery
Prior to their surgeries, Valdez taped a testimonial at the clinic. She beamed into the camera, ‘I’m very excited!’
But that excitement quickly turned to fear for both women.
‘Immediately after the bandages were removed,’ Chrissy said, ‘I took a look in the mirror at my breasts, I had skin hanging out of the incisions.’
Her aunt was in bad shape as well.
'I'm very excited': Valdez seems thrilled in a testimonial she taped before the surgery in Tijuana. Now, she asks, 'Why did I do this?'
‘When I went to the hospital, they said we don’t know if we can save her,’ Valdez told KHOU.
Thankfully, both women survived the ordeal. However, they both now complain of disfigurement and say Hospital Tijuana won’t even acknowledge they were ever patients.
A hospital spokesperson invoked the Patients’ Privacy Act and declined to comment.
Unfortunately, stateside experts in the world of surgery abroad say these women’s story comes as no big surprise.
'We answer to higher calling': The Hospital Jerusalem site promises life-hanging results from bariatric and other surgeries but advice group Patients Without Borders says to be very choosy about overseas surgeries
‘Patients who travel for medical care can greatly increase their chances of successful outcomes by placing quality over cost-savings,’ wrote the group Patients Beyond Borders on Facebook in response to the KHOU story.
The group also suggests ‘carefully vetting the hospital or clinic for accreditation and other quality indicators, and checking doctor's credentials.’
Left with no legal recourse, the women said they just want others to be more cautious than they were.
‘Many times I said “Why did I do this?” I should have saved enough money and had it done with a doctor in Texas,’ Valdez said.
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