TIJUANA (Border Report) — In the city of Tijuana, 25 medical centers that offer cosmetic surgeries have been sanctioned due to poor administrative practices, improper facilities, or for having unqualified and unlicensed medical personnel, according to Baja California’s Health Secretary Adrián Medina Amarillas.
Medina Amarillas also stated that 155 of the 200 cosmetic surgery clinics in the city have been inspected during the last six months and that within the last three weeks, legal action has been brought against seven of the clinics.
“These are medical charlatans who are operating without proper certifications required,” he said. “Incompetent doctors without accreditations are performing surgical procedures and putting patients at risk.”
Recent changes to state law have given regulators more legal recourses to supervise and sanction clinics and unlicensed doctors.
“Now, if a person dies during a procedure and it was a result of faulty medical care or malpractice, those responsible can be sentenced to six years in prison,” Medina Amarillas said.
Tijuana is considered one of the top medical tourism destinations in Mexico along with other border cities where crime is rampant as drug cartels fight for control of the streets.
According to an article in the BBC, 1 million Americans per year are willing to ignore the danger for the sake of less expensive medical, dental and cosmetic procedures in Mexico.
This was the case in Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas where late last week four Americans traveled to that city for cosmetic surgery but ended up getting kidnapped.
Two died while the other two survived.
Néstor Rodriguez, an immigration studies expert and professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, says U.S. travelers seek medical care in Mexico due to price and proximity.
“It’s economics, medicines and services are cheaper in Mexico, especially dental procedures — you can get your teeth cleaned or an implant for a fraction of the cost of what you get in the U.S.,” Rodriguez told the BBC.
Rodriguez did state crime against Americans in Mexico is rare.
“The kidnapping of the four Americans and subsequent killing of two is out of the norm,” Rodriguez said. “But this is a reminder that the border is not really safe, I stopped going.”