With our nation still reeling from the effects of the current recession, many people are taking drastic measures to achieve the body of their dreams. For those who can’t afford the high price tag of many plastic surgery procedures, black market operations have become an increasingly popular option. Unfortunately, black market plastic surgery comes with a serious risk of life-altering injuries and even death.
Recently, a Brazilian couple was arrested outside of Boston after performing a fatal black market liposuction procedure on a woman. Fabiola DePaula, a 24-year-old Brazilian immigrant living near Boston, died from complications related to her liposuction, which was performed on a massage table in the blood-stained basement of a local condominium. Her death raises the important question: how common are black market plastic surgery procedures across the country?
Luiz Carlos Ribeiro and his wife, Ana Maria Miranda Ribeiro, pleaded not guilty to charges of unauthorized practice of medicine in relation to the death of DePaula. The Ribeiros are Brazilian nationals, and while they may possess a license to practice medicine in Brazil, they are not licensed in Massachusetts. After autopsy results are released, they may face charges of manslaughter or murder as well.
At least two other women have come forward claiming that the Ribeiros performed plastic surgery on them in that blood-stained condo. One of these women is currently in the hospital recovering from an infection sustained during her procedure. Since the Ribeiros ran a cash-only business and did not keep records, it is uncertain how many other women came to them for discounted plastic surgery.
For the past 2-3 years, the Ribeiros have been coming to Massachusetts from Brazil on 30-day work visas in order to perform black market plastic surgery in this condominium basement. They charged $1,800-$3,000 per procedure, which is considerably cheaper than what these procedures would cost from a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon operating at an accredited hospital or out-patient medical facility.
The Ribeiros got their business from word-of mouth referrals, and the majority of their patients were local Brazilian immigrants. Neighbors living in the condo told investigators that they have known about the black market operation for a long time.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example of an unscrupulous person practicing medicine without a license or the proper staff and facilities. There are many similar black market plastic surgery operations across the country offering people cosmetic makeovers for severely discounted prices. The irresponsible behavior of these individuals has placed many lives in danger.
Having your plastic surgery performed by a black market operation is not like going to your local flea market to find a bargain deal on knock-off designer clothes. In the latter case, your life will go on as usual if you find that the imitation falls apart after a few wearings. If you opt for knock-off plastic surgery and the quality mirrors the discounted price, it may cost you your life.
Plastic surgery is not cheap. That is a reality of life. If you can’t afford your desired procedure, you will have to either look for creative financing options or just live with your appearance as is. Some people would love to drive a Mercedes, but they can only afford a Hyundai. They drive the Hyundai.
The risk of severe complications associated with plastic surgery is too high to jeopardize your life and health by going to a black market surgeon. If you are going to get plastic surgery, it is crucial that you use a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon who operates out of an accredited hospital or out-patient medical center. Otherwise, you might become another tragic story like Fabiola DePaula.