Six Months Out - Full Body Picture

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico Caution

Some of you may know that I am "Lissa" on Vertical Sleeve Talk, now I'm an old-timer there, having been on those boards since March of 2011. I've been away from the boards for quite some time, but not because I don't love them. Life just has a tendency to get in the way.

The reason I tell you all of this is so that you can follow my posts there and know that I have always advocated for people to do their own research about doctors and make the best decision for their own journeys. And, I've always been the one who says that Mexico IS a viable option for many people to have WLS. I even sent one of my best friends to Mexico with all my blessings because of research I had done on VST/Bariatric Pal.

I did that based on the experiences of quite a few people, but some of those people were more influential for me than others. Susan Lackey, an administrator at Bariatric Pal, is one of those people. She has always been level-headed, posting good information and positive affirmations for those who felt nervous about any aspect of WLS. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Susan.

Lately, though, several people (Susan, Lil Miss Diva/Irene, and others) who have had surgery in Mexico have posted that they are having major problems with their sleeves. One has an hour glass shaped stomach and another discovered that she was never even sleeved!

I'm going to reiterate to do one's research, but I see a huge backlash coming against Mexico... and maybe that's what NEEDS to happen at this point.

I am posting Susan Lackey's experience from Mexico. The doctor is Albert Aceves. For verification purposes, here is the original link for Susan's post AND, just so you know, I have asked Susan Lackey for permission before reposting her words here.

BY NO MEANS am I saying anything negative about anyone, just posting information because the topic has been raised.

Everything below is a direct cut and paste from the Bariatric Pal website.

First off, I have nothing to gain by posting this topic. I do not represent any doctors, I do not work for a doctor, I have no financial gain whatsoever! I am a long-time member and administrator of Bariatric Pal. I am an advocate for your safety! Learn from my experience and learn from my knowledge!

Before considering weight loss surgery in Mexico, make sure you consider all the possible ramifications of doing so. Is it really going to save you money if you don't have insurance? Is it really worth it just to avoid jumping through insurance hoops? Is it worth risking your health, or even worse, your life?

Here is my story...

I had my sleeve surgery done by a doctor in Mexicali. I have now learned my surgery was botched. He did not properly sleeve me. I now have severe side effects, including a major hiatal hernia that is pressing against my heart, a malformed/malfunctioning stomach and major acid reflux that has done severe damage to my esophagus. The only way to fix everything is for me to convert to gastric bypass. Today, my surgery was denied. I am stuck with this problem because I do not have the financial means to cover surgery myself. Had I had this done in the US, I would have some sort of recourse, but because I had it done in Mexico, my hands are tied.

Like so many employers in the US, mine has opted to not cover any obesity or weight loss surgery issues because they believe it will save them money. They fail to think about how much more money all of the medical issues that arise as a direct result of obesity will cost them. Please, we need to educate our employers on this issue, they are costing themselves money and adversely effecting their employees. Like it or not, obesity is a true medical diagnosis, and it is time it be treated as such.

Now, to continue, I personally know two other people who used the same surgeon I did, and are having the same exact problems. Not only that, this surgeon also recently had a death and tried to cover it by stating the patient had not disclosed heart issues to them. Well, guess what, at the time, I was coordinating for a medical tourism company owned by this very site (please note, I am no longer coordinating for anyone, I am now all about being an advocate for patient safety, lives are more important than the almighty dollar!). The patient that died, I referred her to the doctor. I am devastated and have to live with the guilt of this. I spoke with the spouse of this patient, she did not hide any medical issues, she had none!

Through the course of coordinating, I became friends with another doctor's coordinator. She trusted him, not only as her employer, but her surgeon. She had him perform sleeve surgery on her. Or so she thought. It turns out, he didn't remove any portion of her stomach, instead he just stapled it. Upon doing some research, she has found six other patients he did this to, and who knows how many more are out there. When she confronted him, his response was, "us doctors lie". Needless to say, she is no longer coordinating either.

So please, think twice before leaving the US for your surgery. I know personally how desparate we become because we want to lose the weight, our insurance won't cover it and we think we have no other recourse. However, if I knew now what I now then, I would have never stepped foot out of the United States, even if it meant not having surgery. Even though Bariatric Pal offers you discounted surgeries in Mexico, the site owner himself said he would never have surgery in Mexico. What does that tell you?

There are some good doctors there, but truly, how do we know for sure which ones are good and which ones aren't. I thought the doctor I went to was the best, he had the best reputation, was the most well-known and most recommended. Where did that get me? The other doctor I mentioned above, he is extremely popular with members of this site right now. That scares me, it really, really scares me.

If you want more information, you may contact me on facebook at


  1. well explained.. thanks for sharing your thoughts..
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