FBI investigating Long Beach woman’s death following cosmetic surgery in Tijuana (Mexico)

Gary E Davidson

Partner, Diaz Reus

San Diego, California, August 17 (San Diego Union-Tribune) .- An FBI agent interviewed family members of a woman who allegedly died in January after undergoing cosmetic surgery in Tijuana at the Art Siluette Aesthetic clinic. Surgery.

The 38-year-old Keuana Weaver, a mother of two, died Jan. 29 on the operating table of a cosmetic surgery clinic south of the border, according to her family. The story was first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency, as a policy, does not confirm or deny the existence of criminal investigations. But several people implicated said they have been contacted and interviewed by an FBI agent.

“Glad they are looking into it. I hope they have a case. It’s ridiculous that a woman died and he just (kept) doing surgeries, ”said Renee Weaver, Keuana Weaver’s mother.

Weaver’s mother and two other women who say they have suffered injuries at the clinic claim that its director, Dr. Jesús Manuel Báez López, carried out the operations without the proper authorization to do so. Báez López has not responded to multiple requests for comment made over several months by email, phone and in person.

Americans often flock to Mexico in search of more affordable medical procedures and medications. News about the risks abounds, but social media sites like YouTube are also full of people happy with their results.

The other two women said they underwent procedures at the same clinic on the day of Weaver’s operation. One of them said she subsequently suffered kidney failure and the other said she was hospitalized for two weeks with internal bleeding and acute kidney failure.

Marco Gámez, director of the State Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (COEPRIS), said that Báez López’s clinic remained open and continued to perform surgeries. Gamez said he is reviewing the doctor’s records after learning of the alleged negligent surgeries last week. Gámez said Sunday that health inspectors visited Báez López’s clinic on April 23, a day before the first San Diego Union-Tribune story was published. He said that a business representative told health inspectors that they had no record of any patient named Keuana Weaver having been treated at the clinics located in Las Torres de Tijuana, in the Aviación neighborhood.

“I know that’s not true because I have proof that he cared for her,” Keuana’s mother, Renee Weaver, said in response.

The San Diego Union Tribune provided Gámez with documents from Renee Weaver, including screenshots of communications between a Gmail account called “[email protected]” and Keuana Weaver’s phone number; a prescription book with Keuana’s name that included the letterhead of “Doctor Jesús Manuel Báez López”; a letter stating that the clinic would refund the $ 6,700 deposit for Keuana Weaver’s surgery; and a document signed by the former head of the state health agency showing that Weaver’s body was transferred from a funeral home in Tijuana to Riverside.

Apparently, two different clinics operate out of the same offices in suite 802 on Agua Caliente Boulevard. Both Master Clinik and Art Siluette advertise cosmetic surgery in that direction. Master Clinik responded to questions from health inspectors about Weaver’s death, but his family says he was communicating with Art Siluette.

When the reporter went to that address in April and asked for Dr. Báez, they told her that he was at the scene, but that he was not available because he was in the middle of another surgery.

Gamez said he planned to investigate further. Gámez was appointed by the governor of Baja California in May to head COEPRIS after David Gutiérrez Inzunza, the man who signed the document authorizing the cross-border transfer of Weaver’s body, was accused of corruption by the state health secretary and others. people.

In mid-May, the health secretary said that he had requested Gutiérrez Inzunza’s resignation as a result of an internal investigation. Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla said later in June that Gutiérrez Inzunza “had abused the trust that the Baja California government gave him.”

Industry leaders have questioned the level of supervision that the health authorities of the state of Baja California have over doctors.

Baja California state law stipulates since 2014 that only certified plastic surgeons can perform liposuction and a series of other cosmetic procedures such as tummy tucks and the triad of surgeries known as mommy makeover.

Báez López does not mention his certifications as a plastic surgeon on his website, nor does he have any specialty training as a surgeon that is legally necessary to practice plastic surgery among his credentials. He did not respond to a request for comment.

On the website it indicates that he obtained a master’s degree in cosmetic surgery in 2011 from the Institute of Higher Studies in Medicine, Jalapa, Veracruz. The website states that his academic training includes a medical degree from the Autonomous University of Baja California.

Doctors told the San Diego Union-Tribune in April that the term “cosmetic surgery” does not really address surgery, but rather describes minor procedures such as applying Botox. Contacted by phone, the FBI agent who interviewed Weaver’s family said she could not answer any questions about the case and referred the journalist to a public information officer at the office. An FBI spokeswoman said the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

The FBI generally does not have jurisdiction to make arrests in Mexico. “On foreign soil, FBI special agents generally have no authority to make arrests, except in certain cases where, with the consent of the host country, Congress has granted the FBI extraterritorial jurisdiction,” according to the FBI website

But legal experts say there are solutions.

“The real problem is, once they do their research, what can they do about it?” Said Gary Davidson, an international arbitration and litigation attorney at Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP, in Miami.

Davidson recounted details of a similar circumstance that involved a Colombian doctor who charged in the United States for plastic surgeries performed in Colombia.

“Their bank accounts are here (in the United States),” Davidson said. “The feds could keep all of that – and make life very difficult for that individual to participate in the American banking system.”

Davidson said hopes were slim for any kind of civil justice in Mexico over Weaver’s death. No lawsuit has been filed and Davidson said he is not personally involved in the case.

“People assume that when they go to a place like Mexico the criminal justice system and the civil justice system are similar to the United States and that is a big mistake,” he said. “Mexico does not have a developed tort law system. The real tragedy in a case like this is that you really have to depend on the penal system in Mexico because the civil system is never going to come. “