Woman Dies After Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery

Surgery, Wrongful Death

Last year New York authorities fined a plastic surgeon, Hector Cabral, for the unauthorized practice of medicine, rather than seeking jail time.  He paid the fine and returned to his home in the Dominican Republic and continued to practice plastic surgery.

Cabral was licensed to practice in the Dominican Republic, but not in the United States.  However, from the Dominican Republic he continued to offer his services to American women and charging less than what they would pay in the United States.  By fining Cabral rather than seeking jail time, Cabral was able to continue his practice in his home country, which may have cost four women their lives.

In 2011, Cabral was accused of trolling for patients at hair and nail salons.  He would examine women and entice them to visit his International Center for Advanced Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic.  He was charged with 10 counts of unauthorized practice of medicine for performing the beauty-salon exams.  But a deal was struck before trial.  Cabral pleaded guilty to one of the charges, received no jail time, and was fined $5,000, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $23,055 as well as do 250 of community service, which could be completed in the Dominican Republic.  In June, Cabral’s clinic was closed for 10 days by the Dominican authorities after three women died.  It was reported that Cabral was not the surgeon for those cases.

After Cabral had been fined, one patient, Erika Hernandez traveled to see Cabral for an operation that would have cost $15,000 in New York.  Cabral would do the tummy tuck, liposuction, lipo sculpture, and butt implants for around $6,000.  During the seven hour surgery, the anesthesia began wear off and Hernandez began to feel pain.  She screamed that she was feeling pain but an operating room aide told her to shut up.

Seventeen days after the operation, all of which Hernandez experienced excruciating pain and high fevers; she died in another clinic in Santiago.  Hernandez’s mother blames not only Cabral, but also the New York authorities for the medical malpractice.

Hernandez was just one of the many people who travel from New York City to the Dominican Republic for plastic surgery.  It has been estimated that 80 percent of all plastic surgery patients in the Dominican Republic go there from other countries.   In 2004, New York City issued warnings against traveling to the Dominican Republic for surgery after nine women from the city were infected with serious and disfiguring bacterial infections requiring months of antibiotic treatment.

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