MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A young mother left brain damaged after a cosmetic procedure now relies on her own mother for all her basic needs.
Linda Perez, 19, can’t walk, eat, or go to the bathroom on her own.
Perez went in for a breast augmentation at the Coral Gables Cosmetic Center last August.
Dr. Jacob Frieman performed the surgery and Dr. Mario Alberto Diaz was the anesthesiologist.
Lawyers for Perez and her family say the trouble began as the surgery ended, but exactly went wrong is still unclear.
Our partners at the Miami Herald report that Perez’s doctor found her heart rate was “very low”.
Mark Eiglarsh, Perez’s attorney, said center staff waited an hour before calling 911.
She was rushed to Mercy Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit an hour later after falling into a coma. She remained in the hospital in a vegetative state for three months, her attorneys said.
“It’s important for everyone to see what the Coral Gables Cosmetic Center and their doctors did to a healthy 18-year-old mother,” Eiglarsh said. “Her life was devastated.”
Perez’s muscles have atrophied. Her body is now little more than skin and bones.
She can’t walk on her own. Her mother must carry her or move her in a wheelchair to get her around the Homestead house where they live.
“She can’t carry her son. She can’t hug me,” Mariela Diaz said of her daughter. “She can’t be the same as before.”
Perez endures hours of physical therapy five days a week.
“She requires 24-hour care,” Eiglarsh said. “As the mother describes it, she no different than an infant.”
Her mother prepares her meals, usually in a blender. Linda can no longer eat solid food.
“It’s been very hard because I’m alone with her and her baby. I don’t have family here,” Diaz said.
Perez and her family moved the South Florida from Cuba in 2004.
Her mother says Perez once dreamed of becoming a pediatric nurse.
Diaz said Perez chose to have the plastic surgery because she was always insecure about her figure.
Her attorneys said they have spoken to past and present employees of the surgery center who allege “outdated” and “unsafe” equipment is used on patients.
Dr. Frieman has a clean record with no previous complaints, but Dr. Diaz was previously convicted in Iowa for illegally dispensing controlled substances for no legitimate medical reason.
Diaz’s license was suspended for six months in Florida, but was active at the time of Perez’s surgery.
The attorney for the medical practice, Kubs Lalchandani, released the following statement to CBS4 News Monday.
“Our prayers go out to Ms. Perez and her family. Coral Gables Cosmetic Center has been a proud member of the South Florida community for nearly 15 years and has consistently delivered exceptional results for thousands of satisfied patients. CGCC prides itself on partnering with top medical professionals including board-certified plastic surgeons and is committed to upholding the highest standards of medical care and patient safety. CGCC has fully cooperated with all investigations into this matter and has conducted its own internal investigation as well. As part of that effort, CGCC has requested all medical records from the patient’s counsel regarding her subsequent treatment at Mercy Hospital, including her toxicology reports, but no documents have been turned over. Due to patient privacy laws, CGCC cannot comment on medical issues related to its patients.”
Eiglarsh and co-counsel Joseph Nusbaum said they did not yet have the medical records from her time at Mercy Hospital but that they would be willing to provide them when they do.
They have not yet filed a lawsuit against the Coral Gables Cosmetic Center, but hinted a complaint may be filed soon.