New York Woman Dies After Liposuction Procedure in Dominican Republic: 'Women Are Going Over There for These Surgeries...And Not Coming Out Alive'

A "savvy, smart, vibrant, passionate" woman from New Rochelle, New York, has become the third person in five weeks to die in the Dominican Republic after traveling from the U.S. for elective surgery.

Alexandra Medina, 33, died during a liposuction procedure at a clinic in Santo Domingo in early July, CBS New York reported.

Medina's sister, Maxine David, said the young woman wanted to get plastic surgery in the U.S., but was told by doctors she needed to lose weight before they could operate.

But on social media, Medina found a clinic in the Dominican Republic whose staff were willing to perform the procedure.

David said: "This doctor was like, 'No problem. We can do it. We can handle it. We've dealt with bigger women, so come here. We'll do it.' And it was obviously also cheaper."

Medina traveled to the country and underwent the liposuction. But she stopped breathing and died during the operation. Her cause of death was listed as a blood clot, CBS New York reported.

Doctors at the clinic did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Dominican Republic, Plastic Surgery
File photo: An aerial view of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A third person has died in just over a month after traveling to the country for an elective procedure. Getty

At least two other people have died at clinics in the Dominican Republic after traveling from the U.S. since the start of June.

Alabama high school teacher Alicia Renette Williams, 45, passed away June 2 after traveling to the country for elective surgery, WAFB previously reported. A week later, New York City resident Manuel Nuñez, 28, died after undergoing liposuction in the Dominican Republic, local outlet Telemundo 47.

The CDC has warned against the dangers of traveling to the country for plastic surgery. Numerous patients have developed serious infections after procedures, for example.

Doctors have also cautioned against getting elective surgery in the Dominican Republic. Plastic surgeon Myla Bennett, a family friend of Williams, told WAFB: "The thing about the Dominican Republic, it's a little different than Miami, Colombia and Tijuana, where a lot of the bad things tend to happen. 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."

She explained surgeries often use social media to persuade women to sign up for procedures. "The women become obsessed with getting their surgery based on the stuff that is fed to them inside those groups," Bennett said.

David told CBS New York: "Women are going over there for these surgeries, these elective surgeries, and not coming out alive."

The Dominican health minister said authorities would conduct an investigation into Medina's death. But her family are concerned clinic staff won't face adequate punishment for their part in her death.

David told CBS New York she was worried that "they're gonna get away with it, that they're gonna, you know, finagle it to it seeming as if it were accidental and that we're not going to get justice."