When insurance companies said, “no” to health-related medical treatments, these people turned to help south of the border. But now they’re warning others about the potential hidden dangers of Mexican weight-loss surgery.
Medical issues associated with being overweight can be debilitating. And for some patients, doctors recommend surgical procedures to help restore and maintain a healthy weight. But these procedures can be very costly. A weight-loss surgery in the US costs between $15,000 and $25,000 and often insurance companies refuse to cover these costs.
The mounting health problems related to the extra weight, combined with the huge price tag that they can’t afford, cause some people to look for another way to get the medical treatment they need.
While searching for a way to afford the surgery, some found alternatives abroad. Mexican clinics with ties to the US advertise procedures for as little as $3,599. And the testimonials for these clinics were all good.
But that wasn’t the experience Jessica Ballandby, Carson Miller or Justin Blackburn and his stepmom, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Erickson had.
They each suffered from complications that they say are directly related to poor care that they received. Liz would suffer for months before dying due to sepsis from surgical complications.
Jessica awoke in Mexico shortly after being released from her surgery to find herself in severe distress. "I felt like I'm dying the whole time," Jessica said. "I was in so much pain. I've never felt such pain. ... I was just praying that I could make it home to see my mom and boys again."
She looked down to see that she was covered in blood. "I looked down at the bed and it looked it was a murder scene,” Jessica shared. "I was praying to my Heavenly Father that I didn’t die right in front of my baby.”
Justin shared, “the emotional part didn’t really start until he lost his stepmother, Liz. Her band literally eroded through her stomach, and her stomach leaked stomach acid onto her heart and lung.”
Carson also suffered from serious complications. He explained, “it just got worse, and worse and worse. And finally, when I got rushed to… emergency surgery, I couldn’t even drink water for two days.”
Jessica would later learn that the Mexican surgeon not only sliced her spleen, causing the internal bleeding–but he also left her stomach wide open, allowing any food she had eaten to flow directly into her body. Jessica said, “If I could take back one thing in my life, it would be to take back getting that surgery. I've thought about that every single day of my life.”
“There is an overwhelming sense of guilt, and I am dealing with that,” Justin said about the loss of his stepmom and the pain his friend Carson endured.
These four victims are not the only ones who believed the hype and suffered incredibly for it. Diana Thomas’ doctor recommended bariatric surgery, but her insurance company refused to cover the procedure.
Diana is one smart cookie. She’d been a nurse for 14 years and had worked in the medical field for 40 years. She researched the procedure and the medical clinic she was considering. Everything appeared to check out and she went to Tijuana, Mexico for her procedure.
When she returned home, things quickly turned very deadly for Diana. Her fever shot up to 105 and she was rushed into emergency surgery. They found that the Mexican surgeon who had performed the original procedure had cut through the gastric sleeve, but he released Diana without alerting her to this complication.
Diana had developed sepsis and would end up paying more than $500,000 in related medical expenses over the next year and a half of her recovery that would send her into bankruptcy.
“This is a lifetime curse,” Diana said. “I don’t want anybody else to have to go through this.”
These people are hoping the suffering from Mexican weight-loss surgery will end with them. They’re coming forward to help get their own lives back on track and to warn others and prevent this from ever happening again!
WATCH: Stories About Mexican Weight-Loss Surgery Dangers
WATCH: Victims Share Their Story about Mexican Weight-Loss Surgery