TIJUANA (Border Report) — A Tijuana doctor has been charged almost two years after 38-year-old Keuana Weaver died on the operating table while undergoing liposuction and tummy tuck procedures.
It turned out the doctor, a general practitioner, did not have a license to perform cosmetic procedures at the Art Siluette Aesthetic Surgery Center in Tijuana.
Although prosecutors have not provided the doctor’s full name, numerous reports on Weaver’s death identify him as Dr. Jesus Manuel Báez López, who is now charged with “simple homicide” due to incompetence and negligence. He’s also accused of trying to cover up his mistakes by falsifying evidence and data.
In court earlier this week, prosecutors described how Weaver’s cardiologist in California warned her against getting cosmetic surgeries due to a cardiovascular condition and high blood pressure.
Prosecutors stated Báez López performed his own evaluation and began operating on Weaver less than 90 minutes after her arrival at the clinic in late January 2021.
They say he incorrectly injected fatty tissue back into her body, causing blood vessels to tear, with some of the tissue entering Weaver’s circulatory system. This, according to investigators, led to a pulmonary blood clot that ultimately shut down her heart.
The doctor is accused of falsifying the time of death and pre-surgery documentation with the patient. He is also accused of sending the body to a funeral home where the body was embalmed as if “she had died of natural causes.”
According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Weaver’s mother pressed charges 20 days after her daughter’s death.
The published report also said the doctor never provided a confirmed cause of death, and instead documented that Weaver’s death was the result of natural causes unrelated to her surgical procedures.
The family hadn’t claimed the body before investigators and the Baja California medical examiner took the body from the funeral home to perform an autopsy.
Prosecutors maintain Weaver was not properly informed about the dangers of undergoing the procedures, especially someone with her medical history of high blood pressure and heart issues.
They say Weaver died because the doctor did not have the expertise to perform cosmetic surgeries.
In Mexico, cases like these are not argued before a jury and a judge.
After an initial appearance in court, prosecutors present their evidence in a file that is turned over to the judge and his/her staff. Defense attorneys will also make their case in writing.
The judge will read and examine the evidence and provide a ruling in the coming months.
Báez López is not in custody but he must report to the court every two weeks while the case runs its course.
Over the last six months, the Baja California secretary of health has been investigating hundreds of cosmetic surgery clinics and hospitals throughout the state to make sure doctors possess the proper credentials and certifications.
So far, three facilities have been shut down and their administrators and doctors fined for unlawfully operating and performing procedures.