Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgery

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Crystal regretted getting the surgery and just wanted to see her three children grow up (Image: Jam Press)
Crystal regretted getting the surgery and just wanted to see her three children grow up (Image: Jam Press)

A mum-of-three has died after contracting meningitis having travelled to Mexico to undergo a boob job.

31-year-old Crystal Villegas spent the last four months of her life fighting in a Texas hospital after contracting fungal meningitis. The rare infection causes swelling around the brain and spinal cord with potentially devastating consequences.

Crystal had reportedly travelled to Matamoros, in Tamaulipas State, Mexico, on the border with Texas to save money on her cosmetic surgery. She lived in the city of Brownsville, just the other side of the US border.

Crystal was receiving treatment at the Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen following the procedure. Her husband, Juan Tapia, said she died at around 6.30pm on July 30.

Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgery eideziqkeiqhhinvCrystal spent four months in hospital fighting for her life after contracting meningitis (Jam Press)

Juan, a super featherweight boxer who fights under the name Johnny Blaze, said: "It was a hard four months, she fought hard and never gave up."

Cherished girl, 3, who spent half her life in hospital dies before surgeryCherished girl, 3, who spent half her life in hospital dies before surgery

He said his wife regretted having the breast implant surgery and desperately wanted to see her three young children grow up and become adults. Juan added: "Those few months have been very difficult, very hard for me, but I am at peace that she is now resting."

Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgeryCrystal travelled over the border to Mexico to save money on the operation (Jam Press)
Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgeryTwo of Crystal's friends also reportedly died after undergoing cosmetic surgery (Jam Press)

In the days following her operation in Mexico, Crystal began complaining of a severe headache, with her condition continuing to worsen with a high fever. She went to the emergency room where tests revealed she had contracted meningitis.

Juan shared photos of him posing with his wife outside the Valley Baptist Medical Center in mid-July. He claimed two of Crystal's friends had also died after undergoing a cosmetic operation, with one passing away in March.

Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgeryCrystal's husband Juan is pleading with people to do their research before going under the knife (Jam Press)

Before she died, Juan said his wife was "learning how to walk again, learning how to use the restroom again, how to talk again."

He pleaded with people, saying: "Please, please be aware of the risks of cosmetic surgeries. Our hope is to spread awareness so that people can actually do the research.

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

Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgery (Jam Press)
Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgery (Jam Press)

"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."

More than a million US citizens travel to Mexico each year to go under the knife life for cheaper cosmetic procedures. However, the private clinics often have safety protocols deficient to US standards.

Mum-of-three dies after contracting meningitis during breast implant surgery (Jam Press)

Earlier this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised US residents not to undergo procedures in Mexico that involve epidural medication due to an "outbreak of fungal meningitis."

In total, the CDC says there are 151 people under investigation, who have no symptoms, unknown symptoms, or are waiting for results. There are 10 suspected cases, 14 probable cases and 10 confirmed cases. In total, there have been nine deaths associated with the outbreak so far this year.

Community gathers for candlelit vigil honouring girl, 4, killed by family dogCommunity gathers for candlelit vigil honouring girl, 4, killed by family dog

Lee Bullen

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