When I’m reading a news story online I rarely look at the column of other stories that run down the right side of the screen.
But one headline caught my eye – it contained the words “surgery,” “life support,” and “Mexico.”
I knew this story was going to have a bad ending.
And it does.
A woman – and it seems these stories are always about women – goes under the knife for cosmetic plastic surgery.
I’ll never know this woman’s reasons. But I think women undergo cosmetic surgery because they believe they’re not “good enough.”
They want a “better” nose or breasts or thighs or butt or upper arms or chin or face or eyes or ears or lips…
And then – what?
She’ll be “good enough”?
She’ll be “happy”?
I have never met a woman who was happy with how she looked. When I compliment a woman, her response usually sounds like this:
My compliment: “What a great picture of you!”
Her response: “Are you kidding? Look at my thighs.”
I don’t know how Laura Avila, a 36-year-old realtor in Dallas, TX responded to compliments, but apparently she believed she wasn’t “good enough.”
So she decided to get some parts of herself “fixed.”
In my opinion, Laura was already a very attractive woman:
Laura, before surgery
Laura and fiancé Enrique Cruz
Laura scheduled “cosmetic surgeries” including “a nose job and breast implant replacement” at a RinoCenter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:
Americans traveling to foreign countries for medical procedures is a common story. This process even has its own name – “medical tourism” – and according to The American Journal of Medicine, in 2017 more than 1.4 million Americans sought health care in a variety of countries around the world.
Cost is almost always a factor, and in Mexico procedures can cost anywhere between 40 and 65 percent less than in the U.S.
And Mexico wasn’t “foreign” to Laura and her family – when she was growing up, they traveled there often from El Paso to see relatives. “To us, it’s home, it’s familiar,” said Laura’s sister, Angie Avila.
And Laura’s fiancé, Enrique Cruz, had researched the RinoCenter clinic and found positive reviews online.
I have so many issues here. First, I think reading online reviews is a good idea – for restaurants and hair salons and movies.
But for surgery? Life-threatening surgery, which means any surgery that involves anesthesia?
Second, instead of looking online for clinics for Laura’s surgery, why wasn’t fiancé Enrique saying, “Sweetheart, you look great and I love you just the way you are”?
Third, why wasn’t Laura’s family saying, “Laura, you look great and we love you just the way you are”?
Fourth, when will society and advertisers and loved ones and the world stop sending women the message that “You’re not beautiful enough, thin enough, young enough, good enough?”
And when will woman stop listening that message?
Laura and Enrique traveled to Ciudad Juarez for her October 30 procedures.
But the surgery didn’t happen. According to Enrique, eight hours after the procedure started, doctors told him there was a problem. They’d taken Laura to a hospital because “the anesthesia wasn’t wearing off and they didn’t know why.”
Doctors at the Mexican hospital where Laura was transferred told Angie that the clinic had put the anesthesia in the wrong place in Laura’s spine. Her brain swelled, her kidneys failed, and she went into cardiac arrest.
Laura is now in an El Paso hospital and, according to doctors there, Laura’s brain damage means “she is not going to be able to eat by herself, or talk, or walk or even taste food,” said Enrique. “She might be able to hear what we’re saying, maybe blink. But as far as being any kind of normal, they don’t see her doing that.”
Here’s the most recent picture of Laura:
According to a November 19 story, Laura was breathing on her own. She has no insurance, so the family has started a GoFundMe page. Mexican authorities raided the clinic and are investigating:
There’s talk of the family suing. “As long as my heart is beating, I will make sure they pay for what they did and this can’t happen to anybody else,” said Angie.
This is where Laura’s quest for “better” – better nose and breasts and who knows what other procedures – has brought her.
If only the people who love her had told her.
If only Laura could have been at peace with who she was.
Laura’s story has dropped off the news cycle. We’ve all moved on, all except for Laura and her family.
They’re left with a bad ending.
As of this morning, Laura’s profile is still on her employer’s website, where it details her background and interests:
They should take down Laura’s profile – she won’t be helping anyone find their “dream home.”
Laura died November 24.