Tijuana doctor charged with manslaughter in liposuction death

Photo Credit: San Diego Union Tribune

Over a year after the death of Chula Vista resident María de Lourdes Trinidad Mendívil, the physician who performed the surgery that led to her passing is in custody facing manslaughter charges.  Trinidad had gone to Dr. Luis May Villanueva in Tijuana for liposuction on her stomach on 22 May, 2010.  Shortly after the procedure, while still recovering at May´s practice, Trinidad died of a heart attack.  Immediately following her death, Trinidad´s family sought answers from Dr. May, who refused to answer their calls and even attempted to cash the check he had received for the procedure.  The Attorney General from the state of Baja California quickly opened an investigation, as is procedure with any deaths that occur in medical facilities. 

In the course of the investigation, detectives found that Trinidad´s death was a result of negligence, and that Dr. May, while possessing a medical degree, had lied to patients about being accredited as a plastic surgeon.  The clinic where May worked was initially closed, but then reopened, and May was allowed to assist, but not perform, operations. 

Trinidad had been a patient of May´s for six years before her death.  According to May, the procedure performed on her can and does lead to death.  “It happens once in a million, and I´m very sorry it happened to her.”  Sergio Salazar, the victim´s brother said that a lesson stands to be learned from his sister´s death.  “Do your homework if you go to another country.” 

Dibble, Sandra.  “TJ physician detained in liposuction death.”  San Diego Union Tribune.  1 July 2011

“Chula Vista Woman Dies Getting Liposuction in Tijuana.”  Bay City Television.  27 May 2010

Martinez, Julieta.  “Indagan en BC muerte de mujer tras liposucción.”  El Universal.  26 May 2010

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