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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Health https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ After going to Mexico for affordable weight-loss surgery, a woman got sick, had to use a feeding tube and racked up $ 1 million in medical debt

After going to Mexico for affordable weight-loss surgery, a woman got sick, had to use a feeding tube and racked up $ 1 million in medical debt



Justine Rodriguez recalled – bariatric surgery for $ 5,000 and a quick trip across the US-Mexico border. Following the operation in Tijuana, Rodriguez back to her home in Idaho, eager to start shedding pounds. [Aweekandahalfshesaidfoundagrapefruit-sizedabscessinherabdomenThreeyearslatershespent$1millioninmedicalbills

"God spared my life," said Rodriguez, 33, who now lives in Magna. But she has spent weeks in hospitals and almost two years on a feeding tube, suffers from seizures, can't eat most foods, and has to take about 20 pills a day, she said.

Also high on the list of cruelties: the interminable debt that has followed what was supposed to be a cost-saving option for a procedure that is seen as the last, hoping for weight loss in patients who have yo-yoed in and out of morbid obesity. 1

9659002] "The broader medical community and insurance community has taken on a very long time to recognize [obesity] as an illness," said Anna Ibele, a bariatric surgeon at the University of Utah Health. "Insurance [views] bariatric surgery as a cosmetic procedure; they do not really understand the health problems" it can resolve.

When insurance won't cover it, and patients can't afford the $ 10,000 to $ 20,000 out of -pocket cost, they look to cheaper, international options, sometimes said. In Mexico, bariatric surgery usually costs $ 3,000 to $ 4,000, she said. "If you Google bariatric surgery, the ads that come up are these places in Tijuana," said said. "A lot of desperate patients go to Mexico."

"Desperate" was the world Rodriguez used. Her health was deteriorating when her weight reached 387 pounds. She had spent months in weight-loss training and psychiatric reviews preparing for bariatric surgery

Then her insurance denied the procedure. [Rodriguezrecalled"Shesaid"OhIwenttoMexicoandhadthissurgerydone"RodriguezfoundaclinicinTijuanaandflewtoSanDiegowithhermomfromherhomenearBurleyIdahoAftertheoperationthedoctorsaidtoemailhimifshehadanyproblems;thatwastheextentofherfollow-upcareRodriguezsaidShedidn'tknowwhattolookforintheeventofcomplicationsshesaid

"These programs in Tijuana provide these surgeries for a fee, but the majority of the ones I've encountered do not provide follow-up, "Ibele said.

In a" sleeve gastrectomy, "surgeons put a long staple along the stomach to limit its capacity. But the line can cut off too much of the stomach, or reshape it in a way that interferes with digestion or doesn't heal properly. The staple line can leak, allowing a person's stomach contents to enter into their abdominal cavity.

That's what Rodriguez said landed here in a hospital with a massive abscess a week and a half after her surgery in Tijuana.

" did another surgery to try to clear it out, but she couldn't because it was rock solid, like concrete, she said.

Rodriguez worsened and was taken from an Idaho hospital to the University of Utah's Salt Lake Hospital City, where she underwent multiple surgeries over several weeks.

One bill alone was almost $ 500,000, and Rodriguez was no longer uninsured, she said. Even if she had been insured, I could not cover for complications from an "elective" surgery that wasn't covered in the first place – and patients who thought they'd be insured are left holding the bag.

" The tragic thing in my mind is, for those patients who are uninsured, the hospital bills are tremendous, "Something said. "I've had patients where the spouse is taking on a second job, people who cash in their car or their mortgage" because of life-threatening complications following an uninsured procedure.

her past three years in her practice, where the patients experienced complications after surgeries in Tijuana. It's tough to tell how surgical outcomes in those clinics compare to those in the U.S. because, Ibele said, "we have no idea what the denominator is." That is, U.S. Pat. surgeons have no way of knowing of patients for whom all went well. The patient who seeks help may be their doctor's only surgery with complications.

Meanwhile, the surgeons in Tijuana may not learn from their patients' complications. Simply said that in the 12 patients whose complications she reviewed, she tried calling five of the original surgeons; only one returned her messages.

Rodriguez said she and her mother repeatedly emailed and called her doctor in Mexico as her condition deteriorated, to no avail. He didn't call back for months, Rodriguez said.

"I said," I want you to keep yourself accountable because you did this to me, "Rodriguez said. "He told me I didn't know what I was talking about and then he hung up on me." The Salt Lake Tribune called the doctor, whom Rodriguez identified as Israel Cabrera. A person in what was described as the clinic's American office said, "We don't even have the doctors' personal phone numbers." A liaison did not return the tribune's call for comment.

If you are available to patients who need follow-up, that speaks to a "systems failure," said all.

"You have to provide channels For patients to have access to if they have complications, you have to provide long-term follow-ups. Obesity is a chronic illness; it's not treated with a quick operation, "Somebody said.

" It's a system failure on the part of the medical tourism model. But really, it's a system failure of healthcare in our country. "Window.fbAsyncInit = function () {FB.init ({appId:" 913431655408104 ", autoLogAppEvents: true, xfbml: true, version:" v2. 10 "}); FB.AppEvents.logPageView ()}; (function (d, s, id) {var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName (s) [0]; if (d.getElementById (id)) return; js = d.createElement (s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore (js, FJS)}) ( Document, "script", "facebook-jssdk");
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