Tribune 3-part report: Across-the-border surgeries could be deadly
Please call the Gregory Law Group at (480) 664-0855 if you have your own story about how you were injured.
Part 1: Faster, cheaper surgery across the border could be deadly
With the high cost of medical care, the option of traveling across the border to Mexico can be tempting. There, the cost for procedures such as gastric bypass band or sleeve surgery can be as little as a third of the cost of similar surgeries in the states.
In order to advertise their services in the states, doctors in Mexico encourage former patients to promote what is called “medical tourism” amongst friends, family and acquaintances for a referral fee, discounts on future surgeries or expense paid trips to Mexico.
Part 2: Across the border surgeries could mean unplanned risks
As more and more people consider traveling across the border to Mexico for procedures such as gastric sleeve surgery or plastic surgery, researching both the advantages and the potential risks are an important part of that consideration. But even with the best of efforts, the information found may not be accurate. When Carlsbad, N.M., resident Diana Thomas made the decision to travel to Mexico for gastric sleeve surgery, she felt she had done her homework.
Thomas’ personal insurance wouldn’t cover the surgery, so after researching doctors in Mexico she reached out to Weight Loss Agents, a Florida referral service, to schedule her surgery with Dr. Mario Almanza in Tijuana. “I really researched this. I found Dr. Almanza and could find no negative feedback; it was all good. He advertised that he’d had no deaths and below one percent infection rate,” she said.
Five people have taken steps toward filing a class action lawsuit related to surgical referrals to Mexico and the post-surgical treatment received locally that they claim has led to injuries and some deaths.
Jessie Ballandby, Justin Blackburn, Carson Miller, Sheli Stoddard and Sunshine Brewer have served a notice of claim demanding $100 million in damages from 18 defendants, citing negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress on behalf of themselves and as many as 6,000 other persons who received services from the defendants and those entities that supported their endeavors.