Testimonial: Paula Andrea Moreno
Paula Andrea Moreno, a 35-year-old woman from Medellin, always wanted to have voluptuous breasts. She entered a program with the Corporación de Cirugía Plástica, Estética, Maxilofacial y de la Mano de Antioquia (translation: Corporation of Face, Hand, Aesthetic, and Plastic Surgery), which offered low-income women safe plastic surgery operations while allowing medical residents to observe surgeries.
When Moreno consulted the clinic, she was allegedly told by the female resident that a certified surgeon would perform the surgery, not her. In May 2016, Moreno had a breast augmentation and liposuction. The operation lasted nine hours.
After the procedure, Moreno began fainting and vomiting. “My breasts always smelled — they were fetid all the time,” said Moreno. “They were always wet with blood and a brown fluid that had a terrible smell.” She contacted the resident who oversaw her case and was told everything was normal. Moreno asked to see the surgeon but was denied an appointment.
Ten days after the surgery, Moreno saw a different doctor, Jose Rodrigo Mendez, who prescribed her medication and performed an ultrasound. Mendez told her she needed to see her previous surgeon for post-operative surgery.
A hematoma had developed in her right breast, and Moreno underwent surgery without anesthesia to have the hematoma removed. Days later, Moreno’s breasts were still bleeding. They had become infected after her second operation. Moreno had surgery a third time to have her implants removed.
A form of internal bleeding involving clotting of the blood. Hematomas are often caused by trauma to the tissue.
“This was supposed to be my dream,” said Moreno. “I always thought aesthetic surgery would bring great results, but for me, it was a complete failure, both physically and emotionally.”
A dark scar takes the place of where Moreno’s left nipple should be. Scars run down the centre of each breast. Moreno lost sensitivity in her chest and will not be able to lactate in the future. She’s been on antidepressants to cope with the emotional trauma.
“I had a year of depression. I spent all my time at home. I don’t have any feeling in my breasts,” said Moreno. “Obviously, it affected my partner — for me, my breasts were very important for my sexual relationship. And psychologically I feel terrible.”