The family of a California mother is looking for answers after the woman died on the operating table during surgery in Tijuana, Mexico. Keauna Weaver, 38, leaves two children behind, ages 13 and 1. Two other people were hospitalized the same day Keauna died.
All three procedures took place on January 29th at Art Siluette Aesthetic Surgery and were performed by Dr. Jesus Manuel Baez Lopez, according to People. Although Keuana did tell her family that she was going to have some “work done” prior to the trip, her mother believed she was staying in the states to do so.
Keuana’s mother only learned her daughter traveled to Mexico after another family member told her of Keuana’s death. “I’m heartbroken. I want to know what happened,” Keuana’s mother Renee Weaver told The San Diego Union-Tribue.
“Keuana was a very independent woman; a good, loving, smart and very intelligent Black woman,” Renee added. “I’m mostly sad this happened to my daughter because she was already so beautiful to me, inside and out, she just couldn’t see it.”
A health document provided by Keuana’s mother listed Keuana’s cause of death as “secondary hypoxic encephalopathy,” which is a kind of brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation.
Keuana traveled to Mexico with her friend Kanisha Davis. The pair scheduled liposuction and tummy tucks for the same day with the same doctor but Kanisha, who is a nurse, remembers being concerned at the time because she was not hooked up to any monitors during the surgery.
“Me being a nurse, I knew something was off,” she told The San Diego Union-Tribue.
After learning that her friend died, Kanisha returned home to California and began bleeding internally and projectile vomiting. An emergency room visit turned into a two-week hospital stay, where Kanisha learned she was hemorrhaging inside.
“If I hadn’t gone into the hospital when I did, I would have died,” Kanisha said. “Did we know we were taking a risk being in Mexico? Yes. But did we ever, at any time, think that risk would be death? No.”
A third woman, who did not know Keuana or Kanisha, also underwent a surgical procedure at the clinic on the same day.
Esmeralda Iniguez told The Tribune that she was first hospitalized in California days after Keuana’s death, after almost dying from septic shock.
Since being hospitalized, Esmeralda says she has continued to suffer from kidney failure.
“I was so septic by the time I reached the ER in Chula Vista on February 3rd, I was literally hours from death. My kidneys were shutting down,” said Iniguez, who was hospitalized again this month.
Neither Báez López nor the clinic responded to multiple requests for comment from both The Tribune and People.
Authorities in Baja California told the newspaper that they are looking into Keuana’s death, as it’s possible Baez Lopez was not practicing with the proper credentials.
“We’re working very hard to make sure that doctors who are practicing without the proper credentials are immediately shut down and are investigated by the Attorney General,” Atzimba Villegas, the state director of medical tourism, said in a statement. “It’s essential for the entire industry that patients feel safe and are well cared for and get the results they are looking for.”