On ABC News: Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico Might Not be as Safe as Advertised

The growing trend of choosing low-cost foreign locations for bariatric surgery poses some serious health risks for patients. Board certified surgeon and fellowship trained bariatric surgeon Dr. Wiljon Beltre provides weight loss surgery to patients in Orlando, Tampa, Maitland, Central Florida, and surrounding locations.

Health and Safety should be a Priority over Other Considerations

Get really skinny while saving lots of money. This compelling proposition is tempting for thousands of individuals who are told that it is safe to receive weight-loss surgery in Mexico.

But this did not hold true for Jessica Ballandby. ABC first broke this story two years ago. A class-action, multi-million dollar lawsuit was recently filed on this matter. It alleges that Jessica was misled by an Arizona woman who got patients for doctors practicing in Tijuana.

Patients lay the blame on Dr. Mario Almanza, who claims to be the foremost weight loss surgeon in Mexico. Jessica states that the conditions there are akin to a pig farm and that is how human beings are treated there. She had chosen to undergo bariatric surgery there to restore her health.

The surgery would have cost around $12,000 to $15,000 in the US, which she could not afford. Jessica highlights that the gastric sleeve procedure was highly recommended. She knew almost 60 people from Show Low who had received this procedure.

All these patients were referred by Sandy Brimhall from Snowflake, AZ. She admitted in an interview on ABC15 that she took $250 for individuals that she sent to Tijuana surgeons. She eventually started sending hundreds of people to Tijuana for weight-loss procedures.

Four Americans Lost their Life

ABC has confirmed that four Americans have lost their lives post weight loss surgery with Dr. Almanza. ABC reached out to his office in Tijuana. Dr. Almanza’s staff stated that the unhappy patients featured in this story were offered a bribe by an irate employee who wanted to hurt the doctor’s reputation.

While Almanza is not a party in this class-action lawsuit, Sandy Brimhall is. Jessica Ballandby is also a party in this multi-million dollar lawsuit which has been filed in Maricopa County. The suit alleges that the victim was deceived by an Arizona woman who sought new patients for Tijuana doctors.  

Jessica’s Lawsuit

Jessica Ballandby suffers complications from weight loss surgery in Mexico. She frequently vomits, and doctors highlight that the acid from her stomach has impacted her teeth causing them to fall out.

She hired attorney Robert Gregory who filed this lawsuit on her behalf. The lawsuit alleges that Sandy sought out and preyed upon vulnerable people such Jessica. These people were desperate for weight loss, but were either not eligible for surgery in the US or just could not afford it.

Gregory states that Sandy made great promises: She told them that it would be a quick procedure with no long-term impact and that the surgery would be performed by doctors who were experienced and specialists in stomach surgery. However, this did not happen in reality.

The emails revealed that she recruited hundreds of individuals, accompanied them to Mexico, and used the district’s resources to transfer HIPPA-protected medical documents. In fact, she made an enterprise of making professional referrals, presumably based on her personal experience having undergone weight loss surgery in Mexico.

Astute bariatric surgeon Dr. Wiljon Beltre receives patients from Orlando, Tampa, Maitland, Central Florida, and other cities and neighborhoods in the glorious Sunshine State for weight loss procedures.

Important Note: If the weight is regained, diabetes and other conditions could return.

To find out more about the procedures & treatments performed by Orlando Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Wiljon Beltre, at The Center for Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Call 321-499-6505 or Click Here to Schedule a Consultation.

Blog Home

Are You a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Take our 60 second assessment and find out if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery