Dominican Republic deaths: Alabama teacher and mother-of-one latest to die from cosmetic surgery in country
While officials continue to be baffled by the recent spate of deaths of nine US tourists in luxury resorts in the Dominican Republic, it's now being reported that yet another American citizen has died in the Caribbean nation.
According to WBRC, the Birmingham Community in Alabama is in mourning after Huffman High School teacher Alicia Renette Williams, 45, died following complications stemming from elective procedures she had undergone in the country.
A ninth-grade English teacher at the school for the last three years, Williams, described as a "diva" who "loved fashion," had flown to the popular tourist destination to have elective procedures on June 2.
However, after undergoing the operations, Williams suffered blood clots and other complications. She died five days later.
Her death was confirmed by Birmington City Schools in a statement on Wednesday, June 19. "Our hearts go out to her family during this tragic situation, and she will be missed by the Huffman community," it read.
Williams is the second American tourist to die from cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic this month, with New York City restaurant worker, Manuel Nuñez, 28, dying after undergoing liposuction at a clinic in Santo Domingo on June 11.
Dr. Myla Bennett of Ederra Bella Plastic Surgery and Medical Spa, a family friend and a safe surgery advocate who regularly posts videos online warning about the dangers of overseas operations, implored others to not go abroad for cosmetic surgeries.
"The thing about the Dominican Republic, it’s a little different than Miami, Columbia, and Tijuana, where a lot of the bad things tend to happen," she said. "Even to the women who don’t die, a lot of the women come back and get really horrific infections that are really difficult to clear."
"In a month or so after surgery they’ll start to, all of a sudden, get these vague symptoms and start to get these draining abscesses," she explained. " Then they’ll be going to the ER here in the United States trying to figure out what’s going on."
"What they’re getting is called Mycobacterium abscesses. And those are a public health risk. They aren’t treated with normal antibiotics," she continued, adding that the treatments take six months to a year, or longer, and leave the patients "extremely sick."
The CDC has also released numerous travel warnings against going to the Dominican Republic for medical procedures. "When you don’t have a doctor that has ethics and you don’t have regulations on top of that, and they can literally just do whatever, even if it’s not safe, then that’s kind of a recipe for disaster," Bennett said.
Williams' body was brought back to Alabama on Monday, June 17. She leaves behind a 14-year-old son.