Dominican republic: Going under the knife “on the cheap”
ST. LOUIS – A local woman started looking into plastic surgery after a car accident left her with some scarring.
“I hated what I saw in the mirror,” Amy Buckner of Jennings, Missouri, said.
However, the estimates for procedures from local surgeons were out of her price range. Buckner says it left her feeling hopeless, until one day she thought she found a solution on Facebook.
“I heard about a woman who went to the Dominican Republic and had plastic surgery, and came back with a beautiful body and a beautiful face,” Buckner said.
She started doing research and found the cost of plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic was about a third of what the prices were in the United States.
That was in early 2015. Buckner now has a different tone:
“I want him shut down, I want that entire clinic to be stopped.”
It’s called Plastic Surgery Tourism: Patients from first-world countries flying to second, or even third, world health facilities for cosmetic procedures they couldn’t otherwise afford.
In fact, it’s become a major industry in the Dominican Republic, where estimates are that a third of the cosmetic surgery patients are from other countries.
“It was a beautiful facility, leather couches; amazing, beautiful pics on (the) wall,” Buckner said.
Buckner is talking about Dr. Hector Cabral’s clinic in Santo Domingo, the surgeon she decided to see.
She says Cabral agreed to do an eyelift, liposuction, grafting fat to her face, and grafting fat to her buttocks for $4,800. Buckner also says he agreed to do it over the phone, and without seeing her.
But on the day of surgery, Buckner says she started to wonder if she’d made a mistake.
“While I waited, 6 other women went before me,” she said.
When Buckner came out of surgery, she “woke up in a room with no air conditioning.”
Right away, Buckner remembers feeling very sick. She flew back to the U.S. for medical help and discovered the results of her surgery.
“My entire abdomen is completely demolished,” Buckner said.
But some say, things could’ve been worse.
Diane Shields says she still can’t believe what has happened to her family.
Shield’s daughter, Rachene Hutchinson, traveled to Cabral’s clinic for a tummy tuck and two other procedures. Miguel Corporan, Hutchinson’s husband, remembers the moment her surgery ended.
“The guy they sent to get me, I was asking him if everything went okay. He wouldn’t answer me. He told me I have to speak to Dr. Cabral and that he’s going to explain everything to me,” Corporan said through tears.
Hutchinson, a nurse, died that day. She was only 38-years-old and left behind five children.
Days later, her body returned home to the United States.
“Finally my daughter came out and she was in a box, a wooden box,” Shield said.
The worst part for Shields?
“If he (Dr. Cabral) had been in jail, my daughter would be alive,” she said.
In 2011, the State of New York arrested Hector Cabral in the United States. He was charged with multiple felony counts of practicing medicine in the U.S. without a license.
The New York Attorney General said Cabral had given consultations to women in nail and beauty salons, and “lured unsuspecting patients with bargain prices…. putting his own greed before the health and safety of his victims.”
But, instead of sending Cabral to prison, prosecutors struck a plea deal with him. Cabral had to pay a fine and do community service in his native country, the Dominican Republic.
Cabral returned to home and continued performing plastic surgery.
As for what went wrong with Buckner, NewsChannel 5 had her examined by the President of the St. Louis Association of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Terry McKatyn.
“I felt sorry for her. I think she had a real bad experience and the reality is I think it’s going to be a very difficult problem to fix,” Dr. McKatyn said.
Dr. McKatyn went on to say that Buckner’s deformed torso was caused by performing liposuction too aggressively, and too close to the skin. He also added that Buckner’s results are in no way acceptable if a patient is healthy.
NewsChannel 5 called Dr. Cabral in the Dominican Republic to get answers about Buckner and Hutchinson. He answered the phone and told us “I’m doing surgery now.”
“You’re answering the phone during surgery?” Anne Allred responded.
The phone was immediately handed off to one of Cabral’s assistants. NewsChannel 5 called Dr. Cabral several more times and emailed him for his side of the story. However, we never heard back from Dr. Cabral.
In the end, doctors say no matter how many corrective procedures she may have, Buckner will have some scarring for the rest of her life.
Despite that fact, Buckner considers herself blessed.
“I am so thankful to be alive. I am beyond words to be able to sit here right now and tell you my story, and to try to stop one other person from going through what I went through,” Buckner said.
July 30, 2015
Category: DR News |