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Baja cracks down on cosmetic surgery with prison time

Five related deaths last year

The adverse events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in Tijuana.
The adverse events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in Tijuana.

Medical tourism in Tijuana has been recognized for its high standards and affordable medical interventions, particularly in cosmetic surgery. But, since the Corona pandemic, government supervision of clinics and doctors that perform cosmetic surgery is not reassuring.

Just last year, five deaths related to cosmetic surgeries happened in Baja California, four of which were in Tijuana. Even though these events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in the city, according to the College of Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgeons of Baja, the state government just passed a law that would penalize “medical charlatans” with up to six years of prison for performing surgeries without a card or certificate issued by authorities.

In the past few days, women affected by medical malpractice in Tijuana have gotten organized. One of those is Jessica Rangel, 26, who went to the Molding Clinic in the financial sector of Zona Rio, to get a mastopexy for breast symmetry.

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"I even thought about suicide, looking at myself in the mirror."

“A friend of mine from high school recommended this doctor. He convinced me; showed me all the pictures from his previous work, and I trusted him blindly. They are health professionals, right? They should be certified to do this. Now the outcome is irreversible.”

According to her lawyer, Antonio Gomez, Rangel was persuaded by the doctor to undergo more surgeries, on her buttocks and abdomen.

Gomez: “Till this day we are not sure if Jose Martin Castaneda has a professional certificate or if the clinic has the proper premises to keep working. The lack of what we called lex artis ad hoc caused irreversible damages. He burned Jessica's body several times and continued damaging more parts of her body.”

“I cannot even laugh anymore,” Rangel noted. “I can't even do that, when I do I feel an internal pain.... I even thought about suicide, looking at myself in the mirror, and dealing with that was such a struggle for me, knowing that there is no way back, not even with reconstructive surgery”.

This event happened in 2016 and was not until one year later when Rangel realized something was not right and started a complaint to the state prosecutor's office, but her investigation archive went “missing” several times.

Authorities were not able to locate the doctor. The lawsuit is still open, and meanwhile, the clinic is still working with the public, but lawyer Gomez said that the law which was passed links Rangel's claims to the federal penal code. This would help their case and others throughout the state.

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The adverse events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in Tijuana.
The adverse events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in Tijuana.

Medical tourism in Tijuana has been recognized for its high standards and affordable medical interventions, particularly in cosmetic surgery. But, since the Corona pandemic, government supervision of clinics and doctors that perform cosmetic surgery is not reassuring.

Just last year, five deaths related to cosmetic surgeries happened in Baja California, four of which were in Tijuana. Even though these events represent one percent of all such surgeries made in the city, according to the College of Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgeons of Baja, the state government just passed a law that would penalize “medical charlatans” with up to six years of prison for performing surgeries without a card or certificate issued by authorities.

In the past few days, women affected by medical malpractice in Tijuana have gotten organized. One of those is Jessica Rangel, 26, who went to the Molding Clinic in the financial sector of Zona Rio, to get a mastopexy for breast symmetry.

Sponsored
Sponsored
"I even thought about suicide, looking at myself in the mirror."

“A friend of mine from high school recommended this doctor. He convinced me; showed me all the pictures from his previous work, and I trusted him blindly. They are health professionals, right? They should be certified to do this. Now the outcome is irreversible.”

According to her lawyer, Antonio Gomez, Rangel was persuaded by the doctor to undergo more surgeries, on her buttocks and abdomen.

Gomez: “Till this day we are not sure if Jose Martin Castaneda has a professional certificate or if the clinic has the proper premises to keep working. The lack of what we called lex artis ad hoc caused irreversible damages. He burned Jessica's body several times and continued damaging more parts of her body.”

“I cannot even laugh anymore,” Rangel noted. “I can't even do that, when I do I feel an internal pain.... I even thought about suicide, looking at myself in the mirror, and dealing with that was such a struggle for me, knowing that there is no way back, not even with reconstructive surgery”.

This event happened in 2016 and was not until one year later when Rangel realized something was not right and started a complaint to the state prosecutor's office, but her investigation archive went “missing” several times.

Authorities were not able to locate the doctor. The lawsuit is still open, and meanwhile, the clinic is still working with the public, but lawyer Gomez said that the law which was passed links Rangel's claims to the federal penal code. This would help their case and others throughout the state.

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