A woman who wanted to have cosmetic surgery done went to the Dominican Republic for the procedure. This is something that people in the profession often call “medical tourism.”
Unfortunately, things did not go as well as planned. She felt like things were not right when she got back to Boston. A pus-like fluid — though it was a bit thinner — kept showing up at the incision sites. She said that it would leak enough during the night that she’d wake up and her clothes would be drenched.
Tests did not give her any immediate answers, but a doctor finally figured out that it was mycobacterium abscessus. In some ways, getting to the correct diagnosis took time because there are certain infections that are more common in other countries and not in the United States.
This particular infection never gave her symptoms that would turn fatal, but it was incredibly hard to treat. Even after doctors made the diagnosis, she had to be given very powerful antibiotics and she had to have seven more surgical procedures done on her breasts and thighs. She was sick enough that she was forced to quit her job, and some of the side effects of the necessary drugs are permanent — including a loss of hearing.
This saga shows just how an infection or a botched medical procedure can change your life. Even though she followed the doctor’s orders properly, the infection cropped up. Other professionals then failed to make the right diagnosis repeatedly. It was eventually caught, but the impact was life-changing. In situations like this, it can be important for those with lost wages and high medical bills to know if they have a right to compensation.
Source: STAT, “‘Something wasn’t right’: When an infection after surgery isn’t what it seems,” Allison Bond, April 17, 2017