Calif. woman dead, 2 hospitalized after getting plastic surgery from same Tijuana doctor

Medical tourism generates more than a billion in annual revenue

A heartbroken California woman wants answers after her daughter died on the operating table while undergoing cosmetic surgery in Mexico. 

Keuana Weaver, a 38-year-old mother of two from Long Beach, reportedly told her family that she was traveling to Florida to have some “work done.” By the time her mother learned that Weaver had actually gone to Mexico, it was too late. After undergoing surgery in Tijuana in January, which reportedly included a $6700 liposuction procedure, Weaver died and two other women were hospitalized after their surgeries were performed on the same day by the same doctor, PEOPLE reports.

Read More: Beverly Hills City Council votes to allow plastic surgery during pandemic

All three procedures took place on Jan. 29 by Dr. Jesús Manuel Báez López at Art Siluette Aesthetic Surgery, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Weaver made the trip to Tijuana with her friend Kanisha Davis, as they both scheduled liposuction and tummy tucks. Davis, who happens to be a nurse, told the publication that she knew something was off when Weaver was not hooked up to any monitors during the operation and she was released immediately.

Keuana Weaver / Facebook

“Me being a nurse, I knew something was off,” Davis said, noting that she herself fell violently ill after returning to California following her surgery with Baez. She began bleeding internally and vomiting blood. Davis was ultimately hospitalized for two weeks after learning she was hemorrhaging inside.  

“If I hadn’t gone into the hospital when I did, I would have died,” she said. “Did we know we were taking a risk being in Mexico? Yes. But did we ever, at any time, think that risk would be death? No.”

Weaver’s mother Renee, 58, said she is “heartbroken” over her daughter’s sudden death.

“I want to know what happened,” she told The San Diego Union-Tribue. “Keuana was a very independent woman; a good, loving, smart and very intelligent Black woman,” she added. “I’m mostly sad this happened to my daughter because she was already so beautiful to me, inside and out, she just couldn’t see it.”

Renee was told that Weaver’s cause of death was “secondary hypoxic encephalopathy,” due to a lack of oxygen. 

According to the Daily Mail, Baez is not a member of an organization of plastic surgeons called Asociacion Mexicana de Cirugia Plastica, Estetica y Reconstructiva. Mexico state law stipulates that only certified plastic surgeons are permitted to perform certain cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction and tummy tucks. In 2015, Baez’s clinic was reportedly shut down for “failing to meet the minimum requirements to operate legally.”

Read More: Rapper Cardi B says that she’s done with plastic surgery

“We’re working very hard to make sure that doctors who are practicing without the proper credentials are immediately shut down and are investigated by the Attorney General,” Atzimba Villegas, state director of medical tourism, said in a statement. “It’s essential for the entire industry that patients feel safe and are well cared for and get the results they are looking for.”

Meanwhile, Esmeralda Iniguez is also speaking out about her near-fatal ordeal after undergoing a procedure at the clinic on the same day as Weaver and Davis. 

“He tightened my abdominal muscles too much, squishing all my organs together and cutting off blood supply to my kidneys, causing something called Abdominal Compartment Syndrome,” said Iniguez of Baez.

“I was so septic by the time I reached the ER in Chula Vista on February 3rd, I was literally hours from death. My kidneys were shutting down,” she told The San Diego Union-Tribue. Iniguez continues to suffer from kidney failure and was hospitalized again this month. 

Prior to COVID, millions of Californians traveled to Mexico for cosmetic surgery procedures, where they are typically cheaper than in the United States. Medical tourism reportedly generates more than $1.7 billion in annual revenue.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!