iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — A Dallas woman who traveled to Mexico to receive plastic surgery and suffered brain damage from the anesthesia used in the procedure has died, her sister said in a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday.
“My heart aches, and I truly don’t know how or if I’ll ever overcome this pain,” Angie Avila said in the post, noting that her sister Laura Avila died shortly after 8 a.m.
“I love you, Laura Avila. Thank you for being the best sister in the world.”
The death was confirmed by the family’s attorney, who in a statement to ABC affiliate WFAA-TV urged Americans against being lured across the border with promises of cheap plastic surgery.
“So that her death is not in vain, people should think of Laura before they look for cross border discount surgery,” attorney Larry Friedman said in the statement. “They should do their homework and investigate the experience, training and track record of anyone BEFORE they sign up. Always LOOK before you leap!"
Avila, 36, was supposed to go into surgery for a rhinoplasty on the morning of Oct. 30 in Juarez, Mexico. But, the surgery was pushed to noon because surgeons flying in from Guadalajara were running late, according to family members.
Avila's fiancé, Enrique Cruz, was not permitted to see her when he returned to the facility around 4 p.m., although he'd been told the surgery would only take four hours, he told ABC affiliate KVIA earlier this month.
Once Cruz finally spoke to doctors, they told him that the director of a nearby hospital came in and saw her, saying, "We need an ambulance right away."
Her family later learned that she had suffered complications from the injection of anesthesia.
Although the anesthetic was injected into Avila's spine, it traveled to her brain, and she suffered severe brain damage, Angie Avila said doctors told her. In addition, she suffered from a heart attack and deprivation of oxygen, Angie Avila said.
Investigators for the Mexican state of Chihuahua have searched the facility where Avila received the surgery, KVIA reported. Authorities were looking into whether medical negligence played a role in the complications she suffered.
Avila's family had struggled for weeks with the difficult decision on whether to remove her from life support, as doctors said "there's really nothing else they can do for her," Avila said.
"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," Angie Avila said earlier this month.
"She is the person I love the most on this earth, she's a second mom to me."
It was not immediately clear whether Avila was taken off of life support before she died.
Cruz, who has been with Laura Avila for more than 10 years, said the pair were "married by God."
"No matter what happens I want her to know I have a special place my heart (for her)," he said.
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