Update on Weight Loss Surgeon Accused of Botched Surgeries

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Jan 21 2016 - 9:29pm

Here is an update about one weight loss surgeon accused of botched surgeries and the health risks of medical tourism where patients seek less expensive weight loss surgery in foreign countries.

Medical tourism has its risks for patients

According to a recent ABC news report, the case of a Tijuana surgeon offering discounted weight loss surgeries for medical tourists that resulted in harming their health, causing disfigurement and in some cases death, remains unresolved as the accused surgeon―Dr. Mario Almanza―is reportedly opening up about the charges against him claiming a disgruntled former employee is the cause of patient complaints.

According to ABC affiliate station KGTV San Diego, Patients Beyond Borders states that 1.1 million U.S. patients go outside of the U.S. for medical treatments that are 40-60 percent cheaper―which on the positive, offers hope and treatment for patients with limited incomes and insurance providers that will not cover their treatment at home.

However, on the negative side of such discounted treatments, without regulation or someone overseeing the practice of medical tourism, potential patients are too often easily duped by website ads and videos that make foreign discount facilities appear state-of-the-art and a safe deal for a cost-conscious consumer.

An example of what could happen to a patient is highlighted by the story last year of patient David Rush who had weight loss surgery performed by Dr. Almanza only to remember feeling sick moments after surgery and then waking up to find himself in a San Diego hospital.

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According to the nurses at the hospital, he had been dropped off either unconscious or incoherent at the U.S./Mexico border where officers called an ambulance for emergency transport to a U.S. hospital. Fortunately, he survived what was reportedly a life-threatening infection resulting from the weight loss surgery.

ABC news reported that Dr. Almanza claims the events did not happen as was reported by the media and that he considers David Rush a success story. Dr. Almanza says he made a big difference in Rush’s weight size when comparing before and after pictures.

"You see big, big... 100 less pounds," says Dr. Almanza.

The Mexican Government has been investigating Dr. Almanza, but it remains unclear as to whether Dr. Almanza is guilty and will serve time in prison for malpractice.

For more about medical tourism, here is an informative article about how medical tourism can be fatal for patients wanting to lose weight.

References: ABC News Tampa Bay, FL―”I-TEAM: Weight loss doctor accused of injuring and killing patients speaks out

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