Following the death of his fiancé Laura Avila, who suffered severe brain damage after seeking plastic surgery in Mexico last month, Enrique Cruz is seeking legal action against the doctors responsible.
Avila, a 36-year-old woman from Dallas, Texas, was put on life support earlier this month after her family claims doctors at Rino Center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, allegedly placed anesthesia incorrectly in her spine before a procedure at the end of October. Avila’s sister, Angie, posted about her death on Facebook.
On Nov. 24, Angie shared, “My angelic sister/second mom/best friend & Heartbeat left us today around 8:20AM. My heart aches, and I truly don’t know how or if I’ll ever overcome this pain. What I do know is that I am beyond lucky to have had the chance to be her sister for twenty five wonderful years. She’s the love of my life, and I know she will continue to watch over me and guide me just as she always has.”
Cruz wrote a similar message on Facebook after losing his fiancée, adding that he plans to pursue criminal charges.
“This morning my tiny dancer passed to the other side. I knew it was coming but it still hit me unexpectedly … My next mission is justice for Laura. After paying all the hospital bills and giving some financial support to her humble family, I will tenaciously be pursuing the lawsuit against the criminals that killed her.”
In addition, Cruz told a local CBS affiliate that he and Avila’s family have “already hired some attorneys … We’re after the doctors for negligence and now murder.”
The outlet added that formal charges have yet to be filed.
Cruz is planning a memorial service in Tulum, Mexico, where the couple was supposed to wed, and he also will spread her ashes there.
“The ocean of Tulum [is] where we first fell in love … She loved to sing. She loved to dance,” he told CBS DFW.
Avila planned to undergo rhinoplasty and a breast implant replacement on Oct. 30, according to her family’s GoFundMe page — but the procedures never happened.
Before the operation, she allegedly “suffered cardiac arrest for four minutes. She was then placed into a medically-induced coma to prevent further damage to her brain that was caused by the complications she experienced during anesthesia,” her family wrote on Facebook.
The clinic in Mexico has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
According to CBS News, the family claims doctors at the Mexican hospital where Avila was transferred said the Rino Center put the anesthesia in the wrong place in Laura’s spine, her brain swelled, her kidneys failed and she went into cardiac arrest.
After she was brought out of the coma on Nov. 3, Laura had to be placed on life support due to severe brain damage. She was then transferred to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she died on Saturday.
Earlier this month, CBS News reported that their news correspondent Anna Werner spoke to a prosecutor in Mexico who is now handling an investigation into the Rino Center where Laura was treated. No formal charges have been filed yet, but the clinic has been raided.
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Angie also alleged on Facebook that the clinic did not provide Avila’s medical records to the Mexican government, so “as a result, they were raided by Fiscalía … The documents are under review.”
Dr. Dennis Orgill, the medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Wound Care Center in Boston, told The Chicago Tribune that people are motivated to leave the country for medical procedures because of the cost and in some cases because of cultural issues.
“There are many websites that advertise for these procedures,” he said. “And the initial costs for these procedures in developing countries is substantially less.”
He added: “Some surgeons in these countries are excellent, but sometimes it is hard for patients to tell the difference by looking on the internet. And it’s that inability to properly vet international services, providers and regulations that ultimately gives rise to “a large public health issue.”