A North Texas woman has a warning for anyone thinking about traveling abroad for cheap weight loss surgery.
Lisa Hubbard, of Fort Worth, says she had hoped gastric sleeve surgery would put her in better charge of her health for the sake of her new grandson.
She said she saw ads on television for cheap weight loss surgery and began researching options months ago.
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The average cost of weight loss surgery in the United States is about $14,000, and insurance doesn't always cover it.
Hubbard found doctors in Mexico who would do the surgery for $3,800, which also includes the stay and medications.
"It almost seemed like a mini-vacation. You go down there and have your surgery and then you come back and everything would be good," Hubbard said.
Three days after her surgery, Hubbard was on a plane back to North Texas and five days after her surgery, she was in the hospital with her first complication: a blood clot.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flying soon after surgery can increase the risk for blood clots.
Days later, doctors found another complication.
"They told me my stitches had burst and they were gonna have to rush me to the ER," Hubbard said. "I felt like, 'Oh, my God, what did I do to myself?'"
Stomach contents were leaking into Hubbard's body, putting her at risk for sepsis, even death.
"I didn't realize I was really taking my life in my hands the way I was when I went down there," Hubbard said.
Her warning for others considering medical tourism?
"If everything goes OK, you're good, but if everything doesn't go OK, it can have serious complications and you can die," Hubbard said.
Doctors repaired the damage and Hubbard hopes no further surgery is required.
The CDC has a website dedicated to medical tourism, highlighting the risks and what consumers can do if considering traveling abroad for medical procedures.