Story By: William McGee, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This beautiful mother of two has died during a botched tummy tuck at the hands of an alleged unlicensed surgeon working in an illegal clinic.
According to local media, mother-of-two Magnolia Rivera Bernal, 42, suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing the abdominoplasty procedure at a clinic in the central Colombian city of Ibague.
Ibague Health Secretary Johana Barbosa said that the clinic was not properly equipped to carry out the procedure and that the operation was carried out by a cosmetic physician specialising in non-surgical interventions and not a licensed plastic surgeon.
Pictures Credit: CEN
The doctor has been named as Leonardo Leon Blanco and he had been renting the operating theatre at the Promover Clinic, according to local media. The investigation is ongoing and it is currently unclear if he has been arrested.
Reports said that such incidents are commonplace in Colombia, where government inaction over inadequate training and illegal clinics has led to countless deaths and disfigurements following rogue operations.
In the city of Medellin alone, 17 people have died and 234 have suffered complications in the past three years, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
However, the actual figures may be even higher due to a number of deaths being attributed to other causes while some victims have been pressured or bribed into staying silent.
Nationwide statistics for this time period are unknown, although 30 people are reported to have died following botched plastic surgeries in the country in 2016.
Journalist Lorena Beltran, who was left with huge scars and loss of sensation following a bungled breast reduction in 2014, warned that Colombian doctors often take short courses abroad, including in languages they do not speak, which they later present as formal medical qualifications.
Colombia registers over 350,000 plastic surgeries a year and is ranked in the top 10 for performing the most procedures.
According to reports, plastic surgery is considered big business in the country and it is claimed that powerful lobbies have convinced the authorities to turn a blind eye to rogue operations.
However, progress is slowly being made and last year a Colombian judge sentenced a former Education Ministry official to seven years in prison for validating 44 fake diplomas for doctors in exchange for cash.
Those considering cosmetic operations in the country are advised to seek out ISAPS-certified surgeons or members of the Colombian Society of Plastic Surgery (SCCP).
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