Cleaning the Stain – Reviving Mexico’s Medical Care Quality

Posted on May 22, 2008. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: |

Honestly, after the word have spread all over the internet about stories of unsuccessful plastic surgery in Mexico, it is difficult to write an article that would somehow change the impression of patients about the country. Three years ago, the San Antonio Express News published a collection of stories that hold harsh and offensive elements subjected particularly to Mexico. The information was quickly picked up by the Associated Press and MSNBC, which resulted to an ill portrait of some of the dangers and possible appalling consequences of plastic surgery in Mexico.

The report was not at all a display of media attack, also known as “hit and run” journalism. The reporters did an excellent research and put together a detailed information on how a trip south of the border can go terribly wrong. But the report, also said that there are good plastic surgeons who have concerns about quality. These surgeons give out information on how to pick the right surgeon, places to go and some good pointers for a better chance of successful surgical outcomes.

Jeff Schult, author of Beauty from Afar, happened to communicate with Lisa Marie Gomez, the reporter from San Antonio Express News with her controversial story “Beauty on the Cheap: New Body, What Price?” The effect of the story is prominent, Lisa told Jeff, “The hardest part about going to Mexico is finding information about the clinics and the doctors.” Because of numerous critics and concerned patients about plastic surgery in Mexico, Gomez and Tolbert Wilkinson, M.D., a well known San Antonio cosmetic surgeon, conducted an online conference about the story.  Jeff was also investigating and could not6 resist asking some questions inclined on the possibilities of traveling to Mexico for surgery. Jeff asked the question:

The story certainly made it clear that going to Mexico for cosmetic surgery can be hazardous to one’s health. A cautionary tale. However – and I address my question to Dr. Wilkinson as well – do you doubt that there are – Mexico an other countries – highly qualified cosmetic surgeons working in facilities that are beyond reproach, and that patients who do their homework can save money and have a great experience?

Lisa made it clear that the choice will always be on the patient. Jeff mentioned in his book that Lisa found out on her research that there are great physicians in Mexico and along the border. The best way to sort them out is to ask for their credentials and check to see if they are board certified. She also recommended that patients should also investigate the success rate of treatments. This can be done by finding former patients and ask for testimonials about the surgeon that performed their surgery. A cautious patient will always ask for proof of accreditation both in the part of the clinic and surgeon.

Upon reading Wilkinson’s statement, I can sympathasize to how he really feel. His reaction was quiet different to what Jeff had expected. “Just because a doctor is certified does not necessarily mean he or she is qualified”. Wilkinson said that “Some of the best plastic surgeons in the world are in Guadalajara and Mexico City” and warned about patients surgeons in the border who may not be at all trained plastic surgeons. Lisa, Dr. Wilkinson and Jeff are all very distinctive on their thoughts towards the issue, all of them are drawing a line between good and bad surgeons in Mexico.


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