Mom Of Three Who Traveled to Mexico for Breast Implant Surgery Dies of Meningitis after Catching Fungal Infection

After undergoing the operation in Mexico, Villegas started experiencing severe headaches and her condition worsened with a high fever.

A Texas mother of three died after traveling to Mexico to undergo a boob job and contracting meningitis. Crystal Villegas, 31, battled for her life over the past four months in a Texas hospital due to fungal meningitis, a rare infection that leads to inflammation around the brain and spinal cord.

Her case marks the ninth American fatality in the ongoing outbreak of this deadly fungal infection. Villegas traveled to Riverside Clinic in Matamoros, Tamaulipas State, Mexico, located on the border with Texas, US, in a bid to save money on the operation. She lived in the city of Brownsville, just the other side of the US border.

Unfortunate Death

Crystal Villegas
Crystal Villegas Twitter

The outbreak, associated with two Mexican clinics, is a cause of concern as it may have infected hundreds of people and has already claimed the lives of nine American women, many of whom were young mothers. This situation underscores the risks associated with the practice of "medical tourism."

Villegas was receiving medical care at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen following her breast augmentation surgery. However, she tragically died at around 6:30 pm on July 30.

Her husband, Juan Tapia, a super featherweight boxer known by the name Johnny Blaze, expressed the immense difficulty of the past four months during which Villegas fought tenaciously and never gave up.

He revealed that she deeply regretted having the breast implant surgery and desperately wished to see her three young children grow up and become adults.

"Those few months have been very difficult, very hard for me, but I am at peace that she is now resting," he said.

After undergoing the operation in Mexico, Villegas started experiencing severe headaches and her condition worsened with a high fever. Concerned about her symptoms, she sought medical attention at the emergency room, where tests confirmed she had meningitis.

Tapia further revealed that two of Villegas' friends had also died after undergoing cosmetic procedures in March, with one of them being a close friend.

Villegas is among the nine Americans who have succumbed to the fungal infection, which also includes Jody Adkins, a mother of two, Lauren Robinson, a mother of four who had a boob job, liposuction, and Brazilian butt lift (BBL), and Shyanne Medrano, a mother of one who underwent liposuction and a BBL.

Crystal Villegas
Crystal Villegas with her husband Twitter

Additionally, there was one reported death of a Mexican patient according to local news media. The situation has raised concerns and highlighted the potential risks associated with cosmetic surgeries abroad.

Sad End

Before Villegas died, her husband said she was "learning how to walk again, learning how to use the restroom again, how to talk again." 'Please, please be aware of the risks of cosmetic surgeries. Our hope is to spread awareness so that people can actually do the research," he added.

"It changes everything. Everything. It's not worth it.

"I wish this was all just a bad dream that we could wake up from and go back to the day before the surgery and somehow, someway, convince her not to go.'

Every year, more than one million US citizens go to Mexico in search of affordable cosmetic procedures at private clinics. However, it is worth noting that these clinics may lack the safety protocols commonly upheld in the United States.

Earlier in 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to US residents, advising against undergoing procedures in Mexico involving epidural medication. This warning came in response to an "outbreak of fungal meningitis."

The fungus identified in the two clinics involved in this outbreak is Fusarium solani, which was also linked to a previous meningitis outbreak in Durango, Mexico, towards the end of the previous year.

As reported by the CDC, the previous outbreak, which was also linked to epidural anesthetic procedures, had a nearly 50 percent mortality rate, resulting in 39 deaths out of 80 reported cases.

The current outbreak is suspected to be caused by contaminated epidural equipment used in procedures like the Brazilian butt lift (BBL) or potentially by the use of unreliable morphine.

The people affected in this latest outbreak paid up to $5,000 for their surgeries, which is significantly lower than the costs they would have incurred for similar procedures in the US.