Who was Jesmy Tapia? NYC mom, 30, dies after botched plastic surgery in Dominican Republic

The Dominican woman who lived in New York had reportedly traveled to the Caribbean island for a liposuction procedure on her buttocks


                            Who was Jesmy Tapia? NYC mom, 30, dies after botched plastic surgery in Dominican Republic
While many New Yorkers flock to the Dominican Republic for cheaper plastic surgery procedures, not all of them return home (Photo by Don Murray/Getty Images)
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A mother-of-two died from complications following a plastic surgery procedure in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, May 23. The Dominican woman who lived in New York had reportedly traveled to the Caribbean island for a liposuction procedure on her buttocks.

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As per reports, she had to be hospitalized at a local medical facility due to a postoperative infection. She was under observation in an intensive care unit when she died. 

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Who is Jesmy Tapia?

As per reports, the 30-year-old worked as a nurse and makeup artist in the New York City area. Tapia reportedly lived in the Far Rockaway sector of Queens. She leaves behind a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.

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According to her aunt Liza Collado, Tapia worked as a nurse in the geriatric unit of a hospital. “In cases like Jesmy's, in which women who arrive in perfect health to undergo aesthetic procedures lose their lives, there is always curiosity, one that arises naturally in people's imaginations and another that originates from those who feel threatened for their lack of commitment, ethics, and human qualities,' Collado reportedly said. “Our family is grieving at this time, we seek comfort in such a gray hour.”

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The Daily Mail cited local media reports that claimed Tapia suffered from anemia and also that she had undergone breast surgery. In a statement released on Tuesday, May 15, her family denied these claims. “The Tapia Collado and Collado Vargas family totally deny any information known through the media and thanks you for your interest and support,” the statement said in Spanish. “We will provide the necessary statements in due course. We request privacy to be able to live our pain.”

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A source told the Mail under the condition of anonymity that Tapia and another woman had gone in early May to the Dominican Republic. Tapia's friend did not encounter any problems and is recovering from her operation. The source also shot down the reports that claimed that Tapia suffered from anemia and also had breast surgery. 

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A funeral service was held for Tapia in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and one of the Caribbean's oldest cities. It is yet unknown if Tapia is going to be buried in the Dominican Republic or if her body will be flown back to the United States. 

A 2019 Guardian feature on “plastic surgery tourism” noted that while many New Yorkers flock to the Dominican Republic for cheaper plastic surgery procedures, not all of them return home. The report said that in 2018, more than 23,000 plastic surgeries were performed in the Dominican Republic and more than 18,000 of those were on foreigners.

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Dr Myla Bennett, an Atlanta-based plastic surgeon, who describes herself as a safe surgery advocate, spoke to the Guardian, saying the Dominican Republic doesn’t adhere to the same US regulations concerning how much body fat can be removed in one surgery, which increases the likelihood of heart failure and other fatal consequences.

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Despite the risks that come with surgery, she said that people continued to flock to the Dominican Republic because that’s where they can get an “extreme Coke bottle figure for a lower cost”. She said, “The ladies want this particular shape -- a really exaggerated form with a small waist and big ole’ hips and butt. A lot of the surgeons in the Dominican Republic, that’s what they do really well.”

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