HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - A death investigation is underway after, police said, a 29-year-old woman who came to South Florida to undergo a cosmetic procedure died when she suffered medical complications.
According to Hialeah Police, Heather Meadows came to Encore Plastic Surgery in Hialeah from her home in West Virginia for the surgery, Thursday. Investigators said she suffered medical complications and was rushed to nearby Larkin Community Hospital, Palm Springs Campus, where she died.
A friend of the deceased said Meadows was full of life. “She was a wonderful person, she was funny and fun to work with,” said Jacqueline Meadows, no relation, as she spoke to 7News on the phone. “She was a good mom.”
Hours later, Encore Plastic Surgery remained open, but no one connected with the center would comment on Meadows’ surgery.
One woman stood outside on the phone, demanding a refund. “I’m not having surgery here,” said Antoinette. “Are you kidding me? This is a chop shop.”
She said the plastic surgery center called her to come in earlier in light of the bad news. “They were calling me this morning to come in earlier to have surgery when they knew this happened,” said Antoinette, “so that’s why I’m angry, and I should be.”
Antoinette has since been refunded her $4,000 payment.
Another woman said she witnessed Meadows being transported from Encore Plastic Surgery.
It is unclear what kind of procedure Meadows was undergoing, and whether she was in South Florida by herself. Her sister, Lea Duff, took to Facebook to express her grief, posting, “I will always cherish the memories that we have … u will always and forever be in my heart. I promise to take care of your babies! I never thought this day would come. It’s not supposed to happen this way.”
Jacqueline said Meadows’ loved ones were blindsided. “I think they know what kind of cosmetic surgery it was, but I don’t think they know why she died,” she said.
Meadows leaves behind a 6-year-old boy and a newborn baby girl.
According to a statement from Hialeah Police, the medical examiner’s findings “point toward an accidental death during a medical procedure.”
The statement also said, “At this time, there is no evidence of criminal activity related to this tragic death.”
“It’s just something that should never happen,” said Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Feliz of Miami Plastic Surgery.
Rodriguez-Feliz believes there is a plastic surgery problem across Florida due to a lack of state oversight. He said, right now, any physician with a medical license can break into the business. “If you’re trained doing urology, or if you’re trained doing OBGYN, you could actually start a shop and do plastic surgery.”
The name, history and training of the doctor involved in Meadows’ case has not yet been released.
One client of Encore Plastic Surgery said she had a botched surgery and is getting her work done elsewhere.
Encore has not yet commented despite repeated requests.
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