Mexico's Plastic Surgery Nightmare

Consuelo Sanchez 

Consuelo Sanchez

New charges against a scam artist posing as a plastic surgeon – and mutilating dozens of women in the process with his shoddy work – has raised concerns about Mexico’s reputation as a destination for low-cost medical procedures.

As the Houston Chronicle reports, 43 patients have filed legal complaints against Agustin Huerta, who performed disfiguring facelifts, liposuctions, and breast implants without a license. One patient, 41-year-old Gabriela Sanchez, had to have her breasts removed in order to undo the damage caused by an infection following an implant procedure performed by Huerta.

“I can’t even look at myself in the mirror,” Sanchez says. “I can’t be with my husband.”

Sanchez isn’t the only person in her family to allegedly suffer at the hands of Huerta; her mother, Consuelo, came to Huerto to have her nose lifted to aid breathing. The nose subsequently became infected, giving doctors no choice but to remove the entire bone.

Disturbing cases like Huerta’s, as well as similar recent trials involving people posing as doctors and performing harmful procedures, have cast suspicions on the quality of the healthcare in Mexico, a country where American citizens have long been traveling to undergo affordable dental and cosmetic procedures.

As The Chronicle notes, the lack of class-action lawsuits in Mexico give dissatisfied patients few options, while the U.S. Embassy warns that “facilities may lack access to sufficient emergency support.”

Though Huerta faces eight years in jail and prosecutors are cracking down on fraudulent doctors, those tempted to save money by getting their elective procedures down south of the border should do substantial research to determine the surgeon’s qualifications.(