A Los Angeles woman who went into a coma after undergoing a liposuction procedure in Tijuana recently has died, family members said Tuesday as they issued a warning to others in the wake of their loved one's death.
In her family’s eyes, Irma Saenz already was an image of beauty – a loving daughter, sister and aunt. Relatives told KTLA they didn't understand why she underwent the procedure.
“Why, why did you do it?" said Saenz's sister, Carmen Quintana . "There was no need to do it.”
The 51-year-old died on Saturday, after relatives said a doctor in Tijuana, Guillermo Diaz Vergara, performed the procedure on her two weeks ago. Saenz fell into a coma after the liposuction and was pronounced dead at a San Diego hospital.
"We just want justice, you know?" said David Reynoso, Saenz's nephew.
Reynoso said the family was shocked to discover it was an Uber driver who dropped her off for surgery on October 27 after a trip from L.A. across the border.
They say it was that same driver who encouraged doctors to call the only emergency contact Saenz listed on her forms — her boyfriend, after Saenz later suffered medical complications.
“She suffered lack of oxygen which caused significant brain injury,” said Nora Saenz, her niece.
Saenz’s relatives rushed to Mexico and immediately transported her to a hospital in San Diego, but physicians couldn’t save her life due to the loss of oxygen that left her in a vegetative state, according to family members.
“When we brought her over to San Diego they mentioned how the tube they used to put ventilation in wasn’t even installed properly so we have no idea how long my aunt went without oxygen to the brain,” Nora Saenz said.
KTLA called Dr. Vergara’s office in Tijuana seeking comment on this story, but an employee there said he wouldn’t be available until Wednesday.
“I tried calling him. He doesn’t answer anymore," Reynoso said. "(I) tried sending message through FB he just blocked me.”
Saenz’s family also said that, according to the medical staff who treated her in California, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of patients admitted to their facility with botched plastic surgery procedures performed cheaply across the border.
For anyone considering going across the border for liposuction, Reynoso's message is: “Don’t do it. Do your research. (It's) not worth your life.”
A GoFundMe has been been set up for Irma Saenz's family to help pay funeral expenses. More information can be found here.