Young Woman Dies Getting Liposuction
This horror story is more common that you think. Breast augmentation and liposurgery are the most common procedures in the U.S. and over 1.5 million cosmetic surgical procedures are performed annually. Most of these are not done in a hospital and Med Spas in strip malls, doctors offices and surgi-centers have no emergency capacity to handle complications. High profile patients who die, like Kanye West's mother or the former Miss Argentina, make the news but most complications (infection, blood clots, bleeding, poor outcome) are never made public.
I went to one site on the Internet called "Smart Plastic Surgery" and it mentioned "pre-op steps". As a comprehensive Internist I thought great, this will steer patients in my direction. Wrong. Their steps included costs of the procedures, good candidates for surgery (just about everyone) and finding the right plastic surgeon.
When I say "Pre-op" I mean an appointment with your primary care physician at least 2 weeks prior to surgery where you undergo a physical exam and all other risks of surgery are fully analyzed with your personal health conditions considered. The pre-op assessment is critical before any surgery. We are looking for heart and breathing problems, diabetes, silent heart attacks, risks of blood clots or strokes, prior anesthesia history, blood abnormalities and silent infections. Even mild systemic diseases put a patient at higher risk for complications.
I don't know if Lidvian Zelaya underwent a pre-op exam but I am willing to bet she did not. I do not know if a pre-op exam would have uncovered what ever problem led to her death. There are many questions here that have not yet been answered.
I do know that I have adjusted medication and halted or delayed surgery in the past on patients that needed further "tuning-up" before surgery. I have also insisted that their surgery be done only at accredited facilities. I believe those delays may have saved their lives.