By Richard Ray:


A single, 25 year old mother from the Bronx, died after apparent complications related to recent plastic surgery treatments done in the Dominican Republic. Janelle Edwards leaves behind two daughters, one 7 years old  and the other 1. Her unfortunate and untimely passing should hopefully further remind people of the dangers associated with cosmetic or plastic surgery in general and especially those procedures sought outside of the country (and even within) because they were considered less expensive.


The final determination of her death has not been made, but Edwards, found dead slumped over the steering wheel of her car outside her Bronx apartment building, was considered to have died related to blood clots caused by complications from the surgery. Doctors warn against traveling for at least seven days after having surgery due to the risk of forming blood clots. It is undetermined as of this writing, is Edwards remained in the DR for at least seven days following the tummy tuck, breast and butt augmentation surgeries.

Unfortunately stories like this are far too common. The pursuit of beauty has left both men and women pursuing many questionable options in further attempts to Keep Up With the likes of the Kardashians. I am so far removed on moralizing on the motives why anyone chooses plastic surgery or any other cosmetic procedures as a means of enhancing their physical appearance. It is too easy to have a blanket stand to cover everyone, when in reality the circumstances and facts behind each person’s decision are so varied, vanity and pursuit of Instagram followers can not be placed on everyone who chooses such procedures.

Regardless of the circumstances as to why anyone chooses plastic surgery, people need to be made aware of the dangers of pursuing cheaper alternatives, that are often found in Latin American countries, the Caribbean as well as in the states. Miami is well known as a place to find cheaper alternatives to cosmetic procedures. Unfortunately most of the time these alternatives are not even by done by doctors. Often by unlicensed people in makeshift facilities like garages or living rooms, injecting all sorts of illegal materials into people’s bodies. As silly as this sounds, it happens far too often, with the public only hearing about it when death is the result.

Illegal and underground procedures are one thing. Cheap alternatives are another. I understand that hundred of thousands of procedures are completed in the Dominican Republic and Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela every year. Most do not result in catastrophe. However, as an American keep in mind, you have little recourse when it comes to surgeries done out of this country. If there is a problem it will inevitably be more expensive to fix, once you are back in the states. There is also the issue of liability that simply does not exist once you have these procedures out of the country.

The American medical system is flawed. However, in the states, with minimal research, anyone can find out the standing of their cosmetic or plastic surgeon. You can find out if someone is board certified. Board Certification is not a requirement for plastic surgeons, but those that have it have taken the extra steps required to show certification of an expertise in the field. Even if not certified, you can find out if your physician is properly licensed, and in good standing. With a little more effort, you can find out if your physician has been sued or censured for malpractice or any other types of improprieties.

You have the ability to do real research on the records of your physicians here in the states. Most importantly, you have legal recourse if the physician somehow acts grossly negligent in your case. All licensed physicians in the US should have medical malpractice insurance and while it is not necessarily easy to prove malpractice, the insurance at least provides some remedy to those wronged that just simply does not exist on surgeries performed in foreign jurisdictions.

Cosmetic or plastic surgery is “Real” surgery. It should only be performed by a licensed doctor in a hospital or reputable medical facility. Seeking cheaper alternatives, while theoretically understandable, is never a smart move. We all may know someone who took this route and got away with it. However, unfortunately the death of Janelle Edwards, who coincidentally seemed to have worked for a hospital in the Bronx, highlights the dangers of seeking these alternative and perhaps less expensive methods in the the pursuit of our better selves, where the risks are never never actually outweighed by the rewards.

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