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Utah woman dies after picking up bacterial infection after weight loss surgery in Mexico

Pseudomonas aeruginosa culture | Sun14916 Wikimedia Commons

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah woman has died after she was infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant bacteria, during weight loss surgery in Tijuana, Mexico. The Utah Department of Health is also warning residents about the doctor she used.

Seven other patients of Dr. Mario Almanza have also been treated for the same infection in Utah hospitals. They all survived, but it was not easy to cure them.

“The treatment requires some very different antibiotics that we don’t really like that well, and they may not be as effective. And they may also cause a lot more side effects,” says Dr. Allyn Nakashima, the manager of the UDOH Healthcare-Associated Infections/Antimicrobial Resistant Program.

Dr. Nakashima believes it’s unlikely Dr. Almanza’s patients will ever be compensated for his medical malpractice, even if they find him again.

“The doctor has changed his clinic location, but is obviously still having problems,” Nakashima says.

Nakashima believes people looking for cheaper alternatives, often called medical tourism, can get fooled by clinics advertising doctors with “international certification”. However, she warns Mexico still does not have the same medical standards as the United States.