A New York woman did not emerge from a routine tummy tuck surgery feeling alive. Instead, 29-year-old Beverly Brignoni died unexpectedly from complications during a bargain plastic surgery job in the Dominican Republic.
“I’m still trying to understand it. I can’t really comprehend that she’s gone,” boyfriend Lesley Martinez, 32, told the New York Daily News.
Martinez went with his girlfriend of one year to Santo Domingo in February to see a surgeon that Brignoni’s friend had recommended, Dr. Guillermo Lorenzo. She planned on having a tummy tuck and butt and breast lift, all for $6,300. But at the last minute, Brignoni decided to just have the tummy tuck and she and the doctor worked out the price.
Martinez described his last moments with his girlfriend.
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“I was with her right up until she went into the surgery. We kissed goodbye, said we loved each other, and they wheeled her away,” he said. “That was the last time I saw her.”
Dr. Lorenzo came to Martinez, who was waiting with Brignoni’s clothes in the recovery room, to deliver the shocking news that his partner had died of a pulmonary embolism.
“He said he was so sorry, that she was gone, that he had lost her,” said Martinez. “He said she had an embolism and died.”
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Now Brignoni’s family wants to know exactly what happened to end the life of the single mother from the Bronx.
“She had recently lost a lot of weight and she just wanted some surgery to tighten things up,” said her godmother Bernadette Lamboy. “I can’t believe this happened to her. We want to know exactly what went wrong.”
The dangers of medical tourism in the Dominican Republic is a growing concern. In the last year, at least 19 American women have developed serious infections after such procedures.
The Health Ministry inspected the Vista del Jardin Medical Center where Brignoni’s fateful procedure took place and ordered the operating room temporarily closed, finding bacteria and violations of bio-sanitary regulations.