Linda Pérez checked into The Coral Gables Cosmetic Center, eagerly anticipating what the clinic’s website promised its breast implants would deliver: “a state of great personal satisfaction and well-being.”
But something went wrong during the operation three weeks ago to insert saline implants. Now the 18-year-old Homestead mother of a 3-year-old son lies in a deep coma at Mercy Hospital.
Mark Eiglarsh, an attorney for Pérez’s mother, Mariela Díaz, and stepfather, Fernando Izquierdo, said that doctors have told them “not to be optimistic. They’re continuing to do procedures and they’re hoping for a miracle.”
Eiglarsh said that Pérez “suffered extensive heart and brain damage as a direct result of the procedure and remains in critical condition, fighting for her life.”
Even by the surgery center’s own guidelines, Perez might not have been the best candidate for breast augmentation. Its website notes that because “breast tissue can still be developing into the early 20s, breast enlargement surgery is generally recommended for adult women in their mid-twenties and beyond. In certain cases, teenagers may have the procedure. …”
Eiglarsh points the finger not at Dr. Jacob Freiman, the board-certified surgeon who worked on Pérez, but at Dr. Mario Alberto Díaz, who administered the anesthesia at the clinic, 1800 SE 27th Ave.
Díaz is a convicted felon who went to federal prison for illegally selling 71,015 “dosage units of controlled substances” — pills — online. He pleaded guilty in March 2006 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.
In Aug. 2007, the Florida Department of Health reached an agreement with Díaz that allowed him to keep his license, albeit after a one-year suspension following his incarceration and thereafter under “direct supervision” of a licensed physician.
Díaz, who was licensed to practice anesthesiology in Georgia, from 1981-1995, agreed to pay a fine of $6,311.95, perform 100 hours of community service and serve two years of probation. He’s permanently prohibited from “any Internet prescribing,” thus his Florida license will always carry an “obligations” notation.
In an email, Díaz said he had no comment and referred inquiries to his lawyer, Benito Díaz, who likewise didn’t want to say anything, including whether he and his client are related.
The Health Department website indicates that Díaz was an anesthesiology resident for two years but did not tell the department what type of certification he held that allowed him to practice that specialty, as the department requires.
Díaz is not a certified member of the American Board of Anesthesiology, which is part of the American Board of Specialties.
In his post-operative notes, Freiman writes that Pérez no longer smoked, said she’d had an uneventful pregnancy and delivery, never had cardiac problems or difficulties with anesthesia, but had some sort of seizure when she was 10.
Freiman wrote that Pérez especially didn’t like how far apart her breasts were and urged him to get the maximum expansion out of the 240 cc implants he intended to place. He wrote that his part of the surgery went well, but when he was done, the anesthesiologist advised him that the patient needed “support for the blood pressure and heart rate.”